” We know very little about how dolphins classify their own sounds – we need more perceptual studies to find out, and this equipment may help us do that,” YUKA MISHIMA/ Researcher, Tokyo university of marine science and technology


Washington

Scientists have developed a new dolphin speaker device which they say could help one talk with these remarkably intelligent mammals.

Dolphins live in a world of sound far beyond our own.

They can distinguish very small differences in the pitches of sound waves and can hear, and generate lowfrequency sounds below 20 khz, as well as high- frequency sounds of over 150 khz, which is well beyond the range of human hearing. In addition, they produce special sounds to communicate with others and to scan their surroundings and prey in the dark sea ( called echolocation).

Acoustic research of dolphins to date has mostly focused on recording their sounds and measuring their hearing skills. Few audio playback experiments have been attempted, since its difficult to find speakers that can project from a wide range of low to high frequencies like dolphins do.

Now, scientists in Japan have devised a prototype dolphin speaker that can project the full range of all of the sounds the mammals make – – from those used in communication to echolocation clicks. To develop the device, the researchers used piezoelectric components that convert electricity into physical movement and vice versa.

These components were capable of broadcasting both high- frequency and low- frequency sounds.

They precisely tailored the sizes of these components and the acrylic disk to create an extremely broad range of sounds. ” I am happy if we can communicate with dolphins using the dolphin speaker,” lead researcher Yuka Mishima of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology told LiveScience.

” We know very little about how dolphins classify their own sounds – we need more perceptual studies to find out, and this equipment may help us do that,” said Heidi Harley of New College of Florida in Sarasota who wasnalt39t involved in the new research. PTI

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