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Sonar without Submarines



In physics, we recently learned about how naval ships use sonar to detect submarines under the surface. We also learned how in order to detect the ship sends out multiple loud beeps to reflect off of surfaces. The time it takes for the sound to come back can help figure out how far something is from the ship. We even worked on a work sheet and used physics equations to solve sonar problems.

Overall, I think sonar is very fascinating, but I've never been good at battleship, so i thought back to when we studied the senses in AP Psychology (The best class ever, by the way :geek: ). In that unit, we learned about how the senses work and how they interact with the brain so create the perception we experience. In the textbook, there was a small section about the senses of animals. In this section they mentioned bats. I knew the basics, that they sleep in caves, hunt at night, and sometimes eat the flowers at the top of a cactus. When reading the textbook, i learned that bats use sonar to hunt their prey. They send out a small noise to hunt small prey, such as mice, and the waves come back to them.

Along with bats, there was a fascinating case that had me baffled. Daniel Kitch, a blind man, uses echolocation or "sonar" to navigate himself. David was born blind and as a child, he learned to "click." With it, he was able to detect the waves, so that he knew what was around him. David is able to bike around his neighborhood. When asked, he was able to name what was ahead of him on the street such as pillars leading into a park or driveway. David's skills were put to the test and psychologists had him make his way through an "arena" (I'm not sure that's what its called) that had many poles in various locations, where David couldn't touch them. David made his way through the test excellently by using his sonar. It is truly amazing what some people can do...with physics.


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