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Professor Shizuko Hiryu (Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences), et al. discover that bats avoid interference by shifting their echolocation call frequencies

Updated May 8, 2018
Professor Shizuko Hiryu, graduate student Kazuma Hase and others of the Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences discovered that bats avoid interference by adjusting the frequencies of their echolocation calls among themselves when flying in a group.

Bats possess a sophisticated sonar1 system, which enables them to fly even through a dark narrow cave without colliding with each other, although a situation could theoretically arise where their echolocation calls interfere with those of other bats when flying in a group. How bats avoid interference from the echolocation calls of other bats had not been clarified.
Hiryu’s group developed a system that can measure the sound emitted by each bat during flight by placing a telemetry microphone2 on multiple bats. It was discovered that bats avoid interference by adjusting the frequency of the sound emitted to obtain information about their surroundings.
This finding demonstrated that bats can be a new model animal for studying group behavior and swarm intelligence sensing3. In the future, it is expected that studying bats’ simple algorithm for avoiding interference will lead to ideas for new technology, such as group control of autonomous sensing robots.

This research achievement was published in the Communication Biology on May 3, 2018.

<glossary>
sonar1:
The acronym for SOund NAvigation and Ranging. A technology detecting, or measuring distance between, objects by sound.

telemetry microphone2 :
A telemetry device is a wireless system that receives and records the sound received from a microphone mounted on flying bats

swarm intelligence sensing3 :
A sensing system that effectively interprets the surrounding environment as a group when its individuals cooperate to take orderly action
Professor Shizuko Hiryu, graduate student Kazuma Hase and others of the Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences discovered that bats avoid interference by adjusting the frequencies of their echolocation calls among themselves when flying in a group.

Bats possess a sophisticated sonar1 system, which enables them to fly even through a dark narrow cave without colliding with each other, although a situation could theoretically arise where their echolocation calls interfere with those of other bats when flying in a group. How bats avoid interference from the echolocation calls of other bats had not been clarified.
Hiryu’s group developed a system that can measure the sound emitted by each bat during flight by placing a telemetry microphone2 on multiple bats. It was discovered that bats avoid interference by adjusting the frequency of the sound emitted to obtain information about their surroundings.
This finding demonstrated that bats can be a new model animal for studying group behavior and swarm intelligence sensing3. In the future, it is expected that studying bats’ simple algorithm for avoiding interference will lead to ideas for new technology, such as group control of autonomous sensing robots.

This research achievement was published in the Communication Biology on May 3, 2018.

<glossary>
sonar1:
The acronym for SOund NAvigation and Ranging. A technology detecting, or measuring distance between, objects by sound.

telemetry microphone2 :
A telemetry device is a wireless system that receives and records the sound received from a microphone mounted on flying bats

swarm intelligence sensing3 :
A sensing system that effectively interprets the surrounding environment as a group when its individuals cooperate to take orderly action