Recessions are awful

End game


This one’s fun. Dean Waters, a bat expert at the University of Leeds, has developed a surroundsound technology that lets you locate an object by using bat-like sonar. From the New Scientist:

Humans cannot generate or hear the high frequency sound waves generated by bats. So Waters created a virtual system that sends out bat echolocation sounds and returns echoes that are slowed into the human range of hearing.

He put people wearing headphones into a room and asked them to hunt down a virtual insect, using only the echolocation sounds. “The trials were extraordinary,” Waters told New Scientist. “It’s a very intuitive process.”

This actually might be quite useful for military applications — such as giving fighter pilots a 360-degree “virtual vison” sense of everything around them, including things they can’t visually see: Planes or missiles beneath or behind them. It could even conceivably be incorporated into cars, so that when you drive, you constantly have a 360-degree sense of how far away every other car is to you.

(Thanks to Boing Boing for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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