Investigation of Dynamic Ultrasound Reception in Bat Biosonar Using a Biomimetic Pinna Model

dc.contributor.authorPannala, Mittuen
dc.contributor.committeechairMueller, Rolfen
dc.contributor.committeememberPriya, Shashanken
dc.contributor.committeememberSocha, John J.en
dc.contributor.committeememberBayandor, Javiden
dc.contributor.committeememberLeonessa, Alexanderen
dc.contributor.departmentMechanical Engineeringen
dc.description.abstractBats are a paragon of evolutionary success. They rely on parsimonious sensory inputs provided by echolocation, yet are able to master lives in complex environments. The outer ears (pinnae) of bats are intricately shaped receiver baffles that encode sensory information through a diffraction process. In some bat species with particularly sophisticated biosonar systems, such as horseshoe bats (Rhinolophidae), the pinnae are characterized by static as well as dynamic geometrical features. Furthermore, bats from these species can deform their pinnae while the returning ultrasonic waves impinge on them. Hence, these dynamic pinna geometries could be a substrate for novel, dynamic sensory encoding paradigms. In this dissertation, two aspects of this dynamic sensing process were investigated: (i) Do local shape features impact the acoustic effects during dynamic deformation of the bat pinna? and (ii) do these shape deformations provide a substrate for the dynamic encoding of sensory information? For this, a family of simplified biomimetic prototypes has been designed based on obliquely truncated cones manufactured from sheets of isobutyl rubber. These prototypes were augmented with biomimetic local shape features as well as with a parsimonious deformation mechanism based on a single linear actuator. An automated setup for the acoustic characterization of the time-variant prototype shapes has been devised and used to characterize the acoustic responses of the prototypes as a function of direction. It was found that the effects of local shape features did interact with each other and with the deformation of the overall shape. The impact of the local features was larger for bent than for upright shape configurations. Although the tested devices were much simpler than actual bat pinnae, they were able to reproduce numerical beampattern predictions that have been obtained for deforming horseshoe bat pinnae in a qualitative fashion. The dynamically deformable biomimetic pinna shapes were estimated to increase the sensory encoding capacity of the device by unit[80]{%} information when compared to static baffles. To arrive at this estimate, spectral clustering was used to break up the direction- and deformation-depended device transfer function into a discrete signal alphabet. For this alphabet, we could estimate the joint signal entropy across a bending cycle as a measure for sensory coding capacity. The results presented in this thesis suggest that bat biosonar posses unique dynamic sensing abilities which have no equivalent in man-made technologies. Sensing paradigms derived from bat biosonar could hence inspire new deformable wave-diffracting structures for the advancement in sensor technology.en
dc.description.degreePh. D.en
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectbat biosonaren
dc.subjectpinna deformationen
dc.subjectbiomimetic modelen
dc.subjectdynamic sensingen
dc.subjectsensory coding capacityen
dc.titleInvestigation of Dynamic Ultrasound Reception in Bat Biosonar Using a Biomimetic Pinna Modelen
dc.typeDissertationen Engineeringen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen D.en
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