The talk, "Synchronization and acoustics in network performance" (2pMU2) by Juan-Pablo Caceres is at 1:55 p.m. on Tuesday, November 11.
11) BUG SURVEILLANCE REVEALS MOTHS' STEALTHY SECRETS
Insect flight has previously been studied with slow motion video and strobe lights, but a new non-invasive technique could reveal much more about how bugs fly. This ultrasound-based system was designed primarily as a way of identifying agricultural pests, but it might also be used one day to listen in on faint bug whispers.
In preliminary lab trials, David Swanson and his colleagues at Pennsylvania State University placed a gypsy moth in a 200 kHz ultrasonic beam. They chose this frequency because anything below about 40 kHz would scare the moth into thinking a bat was attacking it. The team placed a receiver at different locations in order to measure the ultrasound waves bouncing off the moth. The signal showed distinct modulations that represented the wing beat frequency and body vibrations of the insect.
"We are getting to hear what the moth engine sounds like," Swanson says. His team found that the reflected signal was weakest when the moth was pointed away from the transmitter - a "stealth" advantage that likely explains why moths turn tail when they hear a bat's chirp.
Ultrasonic surveillance could later be used to listen to a bee hive or an ant colony without disturbing their natural behavior. This could reveal new forms of insect communication that have so far been unobserved because the sounds only travel a few centimeters before dying out.
The talk, "Ultrasonic characterization of insect wing reflectivity and wing-beat motion at
|Contact: Jason Bardi|
American Institute of Physics