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Dolphin

Biology

Deciphering dolphin echolocation - researchers create eerie image of a diver as it may appear in a dolphin's brain

A private dolphin research organization based in Miami sparked a minor sensation last month when it released a controversial image of an underwater diver that was reportedly created using data extracted from the high frequency clicks that dolphins emit when they perform echolocation. If the data used to create the image is proven to be solid, it could reveal what and how certain animals "see" in dark and underwater environments.Read More

Science

Acoustic Zoom could save dolphins' hearing while aiding geologists

If you've ever been asleep on a yacht in harbor when a submarine tests its sonar, you know that underwater sound is anything but trivial – one ping can send you out of your bunk and across the room. Small wonder that the major navies spend a fortune studying the impact of naval and civilian sonar systems on sea animals such as whales and dolphins, who live in a world of sound. Scientists at the University of Bath have developed a more cetacean-friendly sonar system called Acoustic Zoom that is not only less disruptive to marine life, but also improves resolution beyond that of current methods.Read More

Science

Device assesses dolphins' health via their blowholes

If you want to get a picture of wild dolphin populations' health, it's typically necessary to capture some of the animals and then obtain blood samples or skin biopsies. Needless to say, it's hard work, and the dolphins tend not to like it. Soon, however, it may be possible to gather the same information using a device that samples their breath. Read More

Outdoors

DOL-Fin is designed to let you swim like a dolphin

Besides being able to fly like a bird, many people fantasize about having the ability to swim like a dolphin. Divers already have the option of replacing their two regular swim fins with one fluke-like flexible rubber monofin, although aerospace engineer Ron Smith claims that his invention is much more effective. Known as the DOL-Fin, it incorporates a wide rigid hydrofoil-type fin. Read More

Science

Dolphins inspire a new bomb-detecting system

Chances are, you know that dolphins use sonar to locate and stun prey underwater. You might also know that they create "bubble nets," in which they trap fish inside a ring of air bubbles that they blow while swimming in a circle. With all those distracting bubbles suspended in the water, though, their sonar needs to work in a special way in order to pick out the fish. Scientists have copied that sonar system, to create a type of radar that could differentiate between ordinary objects and things like explosive devices. Read More

"Dolphin speaker" could pave the way for human-cetacean communication

While there’s little doubt that dolphins are saying something to one another with all their clicks, squeals and whistles, we’re still not entirely sure just what it is that they’re communicating. We may be getting closer to figuring it out, however, as Japanese scientists have created an underwater speaker that’s capable of playing back the creatures’ entire acoustic range. The next step - see how they respond.Read More

Science

Scientists working on human-dolphin communication device

Despite his annoyingly cutesy synthetic voice, Darwin the Dolphin on the TV series SeaQuest DSV did present an intriguing possibility – what if we could create a dolphin language translator? Such a device may no longer be limited to the realm of science fiction, as two scientists are currently developing an underwater computer that they hope to someday use for two-way communications with wild dolphins.Read More

Robotics

Bionic penguins fly through water … and air

The latest example of biomimicry in robotics to cross our desk is from German electrical automation company Festo, which has used the shape of the acquatic, flightless bird to construct two different types of bionic penguins. The AquaPenguins use the bird's hydrodynamic body contours and wing propulsion to allow the robot to maneuver in cramped spaces, turn on the spot and, unlike their real-life counterparts, swim backwards. The larger helium-filled AirPenguins use the same principles to lift the usually flightless bird into the air.Read More

Holiday Destinations

Atlantis Dubai: the luxury resort that's home to 65,000 marine animals

The recently-launched luxury Atlantis hotel rises towards the sky from the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah, but unlike it’s mysterious namesake, this Atlantis is unlikely to get ‘lost’. The ocean-and-aquatic themed resort is impressive, and not surprisingly everything about it is big - from the development price of US$1.5 billion to its size (it's spread over 46 hectares of reclaimed land) and its 1, 539 rooms. It also features a massive 17 hectares of water park activities and an 11 million liter marine habitat that is home to more than 65,000 marine animals.Read More

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