Whales at the forefront of technology
Wild About Whales
30 June 2011
By copying the ears of killer whales, scientists have designed underwater microphones that could one day help track migrating whales, guide robots toward leaking undersea oil wells and monitor exotic cosmic particles plunging into the ocean.
Now researchers have developed an ultra-sensitive hydrophone that can detect a wide spectrum of underwater sounds, from the weakest ones to those 100 million times stronger.
To design the new hydrophone, Kilic and his colleagues analyzed ears they knew already worked very well underwater, such as those of killer whales, also known as orcas.
The new hydrophone could have an impact on a wide range of research, from standard applications such as sonar and studying fisheries populations to more exotic endeavors