Foliage Echoes and Sensing in Natural Environments
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Foliage is very common feature in the habitats of echolocation bats and thus its echoes constitute the major input of bats' sensory systems. Acquiring useful information from vegetation echoes facilitates the bats significantly in the navigation and foraging behaviors. To better understand the foliage echoes, in this dissertation, a computer model was constructed to simulate foliage echoes with following simplifications: approximating leaves as circular disks, leaving out shading effects between leaves, and distributing leaves uniformly in the space. Then one tree can be described with three parameters in the model, leaf radius, orientation, and leaf density, where the first two determine the beampattern of each leaf. Compared with echoes collected from real trees, the simulation echoes are qualitatively accurate, i.e., they match in waveforms and also first-order statistics. Since the ground truth is known in the model, the three parameters were estimated with lasso model by selecting 40 features from each echo. The results have shown that estimation of one parameter with the other two known is usually successful with coefficient of determination close to one, and the classification still has reasonable accuracy when the number of known parameter is reduced to one. Besides, the three simplifications were examined with both experimental and simulation approaches. To assess the acoustic impact of leaf geometry on individual leaves, experiments were carried out by ensonifying leaves from both a single and different species. How the leaves' impulse responses change according to their equivalent radii was investigated. The simulation model of disks fits the experiments done with real leaves within one species and across species reasonably well. Shading effect is found to exist locally when two disks were 25 cm apart and were both in pulse direction. In addition, the inhomogeneous distribution of leaves was introduced by using the branching patterns of L-system. The evaluation of inhomogeneity in echoes produced with two distributions shows that there is always inhomogeneity in echoes, and L-system model does bring more inhomogeneity but not to the same extent as changes in the relative orientation between sonar beam and foliage do.
- Doctoral Dissertations