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Navy Seals? More like Navy Dolphins - New Sonar Technology Developed from Dolphins
By Joe Tepper, December 10, 2010 @ 01:15 PM (EST)
Source: Tech News Daily

With  more concern for dolphin conservation building in the marine community, it seems as if these marvelous mammals have decided to give a little back.

Researchers have developed brand-new Sonar technology based on the marine mammal's echolocation system. The existing Sound Navigation And Ranging -more commonly known as Sonar- has been used by the Navy since before the first World War, but even this seemingly standard technology has a kryptonyte: bubbles!

Bubbles, such as those formed in the more shallow coastal water, actually scatter the sound of the Sonar devices, in turn effectively leaving the user blind. The new Sonar, named twin inverted pulse sonar (TWIPS), was developed by researchers at the University of Southampton who where inspired by the more sophisticated echolocation used by dolphins while hunting.

“Cold War sonar was developed mainly for use in deep waters where bubbles are not much of a problem, but many of today's applications involve shallow water,” explains physics professor Timothy Leighton of the University at Southampton, “Better detection and classification of targets in bubbly waters are key goals of shallow-water sonar.” Initial tests have shown that TWIPS does indeed out perform standard Sonar in such conditions.

So, what inspired this amazing new technology?

Actually, it was the “bubble nets” formed by dolphins to trap their prey, such as those seen in South Africa during the Sardine Run, which led the researchers to believe that a more advanced Sonar was possible.

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