Bat Sonar Device Helps the Visually Impaired to Navigate
Students and professors collaborate to design an aid that can be worn like a watch
Unlike Batman, bats don’t rely on projections in the sky to tell them where to go; they navigate by calling and judging where the sounds echo off objects. This sound-based system inspired a team at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, to create a sonar device to help the blind to get around more easily.
The idea was sparked by biology professor William Conner, who studies bats and moths to learn about the evolution of animal communication. He runs a course called ‘Bio-inspiration and Biomimetics’ which started him thinking about the potential of a bat sonar system in a digital device. Conner teamed up with associate professor of computer science Paul Pauca, to bring together an interdisciplinary team of students to explore this concept.