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Graduate Research Assistant Creates Bat-Mounted Sonar Recording System

Jeremy J. Langford, one of Dr. Jeremy Holleman’s Graduate Research Assistants in Electrical Engineering, is designing and overseeing professional fabrication/assembly of a prototype in-flight bat ultra sound recorder board.  Yes, that’s right, he is recording bat calls.

Scientists studying bat behavior monitor their echolocation calls, as they are important for their navigation and feeding, but scientist are typically restricted to ground-based recording. Recording bat calls used for echolocation from the back of the bat as opposed to the ground offers the opportunity to study bat echolocation from a vantage otherwise only offered to the bats themselves. However, designing a bat mounted in-flight audio recording system, (bat-board), capable of recording the ultra-sound used in bat echolocation presents a unique set of challenges. Chiefly, the bat-board must be sufficiently light weight as to not overburden the bat, thus altering the bat’s behavior or causing harm to the bat itself. This thesis details the design and validation for the hardware and firmware of a wireless bat mounted ultrasonic recorder implemented using only commercial off the shelf parts.

Langford was a recipient of the Bodenheimer Fellowship in 2015.  He has also completed Software Engineer internships with Emerson Process Management and Garmin.

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