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Bat Ear Microphone

why reinvent the ear
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
  [vote for,

Animal auditory systems have orders of magnitude better sensitivity and performance than any microphone we'll be able to engineer anytime soon. Use animal cochlea, selectively bred from only the finest and hardiest of cochlea in order to last with minimal upkeep. Auditory nerves are fairly regular so it shouldn't be a problem doing the biological->digital conversion. One could also record the neural impulses for the audiophiles that demand that the signal not be converted from biolog.

Use multiple species for greater frequency range - Elephant+Human+Bat for example.

prometheus, Oct 04 2001


       So there would be a living organism somehow joined with a mechanical device? One special David Cronenberg croissant, then!
snarfyguy, Oct 04 2001

       OK, so you use this microphone to record sounds that standard mics cannot 'hear'. How do you listen to them?
Pastry for the title.
angel, Oct 04 2001

       Reading the first sentence, I was convinced this was going to be a [Vernon] idea. Croissant for the surprise.
-alx, Oct 04 2001

       angel: some frequencies are too low to hear, but you sure can feel them.
sdm, Oct 04 2001

       <shudder> I feel much safer with electronics. What next - tennis racket made of cat guts? Oh, we've done that one? </shudder>   

       Scene in recording studio: "I'm afraid we can only record blues numbers today - my microphone's feeling a bit under the weather."
st3f, Oct 04 2001

       Pastry just for the mental image of Dan Rather pontificating into a large, floppy elephant ear.
jester, Oct 04 2001

       Actually, we already have non-biological microphones that are sensitive to these extended ranges. The only advantage these "biophones" might have is better spectral linearity than what we have built today. But if we put as much effort into achieving spectral linearity outside the range of human hearing as we have inside that range, then I have no doubt we would match performance there too.   

       By the way, these microphones are generally used for industrial processes, proximity detection, and medical imaging.   

       [angel] -- You hear these sounds the same way that you see images from infrared and ultraviolet cameras. The raw input signal is shifted (and possibly compressed) into the range that human senses can handle. With sounds, you can amplitude modulate the raw signal, and then demodulate it using a different frequency carrier. This will shift the signal to a higher or lower frequency band. (One of my professors built a "bug's ear" high-frequency listening device using exactly this method.)
BigBrother, Oct 04 2001

       -alx, If it had been one of Vernon's - it would have read:
Animal auditory systems have orders of magnitude BETTER sensitivity AND performance than ANY microphone we'll be able to engineer ANYTIME soon.
thumbwax, Oct 04 2001

       And I wouldn't have been able to read the name of the author without scrolling down for about 5 minutes either...
-alx, Oct 04 2001

       'Genetically modify'. Boned.
StarChaser, Oct 06 2001

       But it will taste oh so nice.
sdm, Oct 07 2001

       A colleague found a dead bat on her stairs yesterday.
angel, Oct 08 2001

       Probably not; there was not a mark on it, certainly no evidence of de-cochlearization, or such. Junior cat is the prime suspect.
angel, Oct 09 2001

       With electronics you can hetrodyne the high frequency with a signal 1KHz higher, filter out the difference frequency and listen to your signal within the human audio range.
KindlyRat, Oct 10 2001

       Sorry Rush, we're right out of bat ears. We do have these lovely cochlea developed from federally-funded stem cell research though.
prometheus, Oct 11 2001

       Excellent idea. Agree with comments by BigBrother on general lack of need for actual biological sensor to get frequency range. Also, I expect most but not all of the fancy signal processing stuff we can't but would like to do, goes on in the bat's brain rather than cochlea. HOWEVER, one could definitely obtain better performance and visual impact by attaching real bat ears (external ear or pinna) to an ordinary microphone. The bigger the better.
donnythebull, Dec 18 2002


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