Navigation Links
Simple rubber device mimics complex bird songs
Date:11/21/2010

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 21, 2010 -- For centuries, hunters have imitated their avian prey by whistling through their fingers or by carving wooden bird calls. Now a team of physicists at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has reproduced many of the characteristics of real bird song with a simple physical model made of a rubber tube.

"We wanted to know if you [could] build a simple device, which has minimal control but reproduces some non-trivial aspects of bird song," says L Mahadevan, a professor at Harvard. The work is being presented today at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Long Beach, CA.

Bird song -- a complex sound full of intricate patterns and rich harmonics -- has long been studied by neuroscientists. Their research has explained much about how young birds learn these songs from adults and the complex neurological changes that allow them to control their voices.

But Aryesh Mukherjee, a graduate student in Mahadevan's laboratory, suggests that this neural control need not be as complicated as it could be. He suspects that the physics of a bird's vocal tract could explain much of the complexity of its voice, even with relatively simple neural control.

His bird call device consists of an air source, which creates a flow through a stretched rubber tube (modeled after a bird's vocal tract), and a linear motor that presses on the tube in a fashion analogous to a contracting muscle.

"Using this very simple device that pokes a tube, I see these beautiful sounds being produced without a sophisticated controller," says Mukherjee.

When analyzed on a spectrogram, the harmonics and other characteristics of the sounds made by the physical model closely resemble the songs of a zebra finch.

Another researcher in the lab, Shreyas Mandre, now an assistant professor at Brown University, is building mathematical models that seek to capture some of the underlying principles. His model, which represents the voice as a stretched string with dampened vibrations, creates digital bird calls that are also very similar to the real thing.

"Once we understand the physics better, we'll be able to mimic the sound much better," says Mandre.

The principles underlying the models aren't limited to single species of birds. The researchers believe that -- with a few tweaks -- their models could mimic a variety of bird calls.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Radically simple technique developed to grow conducting polymer thin films
2. Sniffing out shoe bombs: A new and simple sensor for explosive chemicals
3. Simple approach could clean up oil remaining from Exxon Valdez spill
4. Caltech chemists develop simple technique to visualize atomic-scale structures
5. Health diagnosis made simpler
6. The secret of life may be as simple as what happens between the sheets -- mica sheets
7. Research develops simple recipe for fungus-free horseradish
8. Study finds that simple 2-question survey can better identify hungry children
9. Cheap, simple, noninvasive blood test may replace invasive diagnostic techniques in early pregnancy
10. New study documents use of hormone progesterone in simple microscopic aquatic animals
11. Pitt researcher says simple polymer-based filter successfully cleans water, recovers oil in Gulf of Mexico tests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/19/2016)... 18, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today that it ... to have an independent technology judge determine who has ... high tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and the best customer ... do most of what we do – which clearly ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... , Nov. 17, 2016  AIC announces that it has just released a new ... that require high-performance scale-out plus high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... , Nov. 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. ... therapeutics focused on the gut microbiome, today announced ... 25,000,000 shares of its common stock and warrants ... at a price to the public of $1.00 ... Synthetic Biologics from the offering, excluding the proceeds, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... MA and Azusa, CA (PRWEB) , ... December ... ... provider of distributed wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions for industrial facilities, today ... Company , will be the first to use Cambrian’s novel water-energy purchase agreement ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 ... ... opening applications to an early access program for SmartBiome -- a novel ... with the simultaneous specific enrichment and detection of hundreds of different genes. ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - SQI Diagnostics Inc. ("SQI" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SQD; ... quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2016. ... , , ... and diagnostics company that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products ... Achieved revenues of $1.4 million more than tripling prior years ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... 06, 2016 , ... Discovering new clues to natural treatments that could allow ... in our brains. And searching for keys to our immune systems by studying parasite-resistant ... the 2017 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by The Academy of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: