Soon, we may know exactly what dolphins see. Researchers have 3D printed an image of what a human looks like to dolphins.
Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures. Unfortunately, they are different from humans in so many aspects that they are hard to comprehend. For one, they use echolocation to see and move underwater. Using echoes, a dolphin can determine the shape, size and speed of objects underwater – better and more accurate than humans.
Researchers from SpeakDolphin.com have been working on deciphering dolphin communication for a decade.
“When we discovered that dolphins not exposed to the echolocation experiment could identify objects from recorded dolphin sounds with 92% accuracy, we began to look for a way for to see what was in those sounds,” says research team leader Jack Kassewitz.
This Is What Dolphins See
Each “click” made by a dolphin is shaped by objects and effectively captures a still image. SpeakDolphin took these echolocation recordings and turned them into a 2D image.
This is what it looks like:
Finally, they turned to 3D Systems. By turning these 2D images into a 3D printable, humans are now able to print and experience what dolphins see first hand. Printed on 3D System’s Projet 660, the results are very unique. It allows for an experience most of us would never even imagine.
“But seeing the 3D print of a human being left us all speechless. For the first time ever, we may be holding in our hands a glimpse into what cetaceans see with sound.”
Their work, by no means ends there. If you want to learn more about the print, you can wait for the television documentary being created now. Devised TV’s award-winning filmmaker Michael Watchulonis and David Albareda will be recording SpeakDolphin’s story for screen.
What’s next on the agenda? The team hopes to find out if these echolation images may be shared as part of a sono-pictorial language. Which might be a little tougher to 3D print.
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