Sonar sensing algorithm inspired by the auditory system of big brown bats

Friday, March 26, 2021 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Friday, March 26 at 11 am

Zoom Meeting details:

Echolocating animals rely on biosonar for navigation and foraging, operating on lower energy input but achieving higher accuracy compared with engineered sonar. My research focuses on understanding the mechanism of bat biosonar by simulating different acoustic scenes involving vegetation and defining the invariants in the foliage echoes that provide the tree type information for bats to use as landmarks. Additionally, I have developed Spectrogram Correlation and Transformation (SCAT) model that simulates the bat’s auditory system with a gammatone filterbank, a half-wave rectifier, and a low-pass filter. The SCAT model splits a signal into many parallel frequency channels and maps the acoustic “image” of the target by finding the crossings at each channel with the same threshold. It can estimate the range delay between a sound source and targets as well as fine delay within reflecting points in one target – signal delays as short as a few microseconds. Currently, I am expanding the SCAT model by including a convolutional neural network for binaural localization of small targets.

Bio: Chen Ming, Ph.D., received a BS and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Hunan University in China. She then moved to the US to study bioacoustics at Virginia Tech with a focus on foliage echoes in natural environments. After graduation, she joined the Neuroscience department at Brown University as a postdoc, where she has been working on the modeling of the auditory system of big brown bats and acoustic scene reconstruction as a part of a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Program to inspire advanced Navy sonar designs. Her long-term research goal is to design sonar for small autonomous aerial vehicles and incorporate AI for precise sensing. Recently she has been selected as a speaker for the Neuroscience Institute’s Rising Star Postdoctoral Seminar Series at the University of Chicago with her research on bioacoustics.

Link to my webpage: