Bio-inspired wideband sonar signals based on observations of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Christopher Capus, Yan Pailhas, Keith Brown, David Michael Lane, Patrick W. Moore, Dorian Houser

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71 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses advanced time-frequency signal analysis techniques to generate new models for bio-inspired sonar signals. The inspiration comes from the analysis of bottlenose dolphin clicks. These pulses are very short duration, between 50 and 80 µs, but for certain examples we can delineate a double down-chirp structure using fractional Fourier methods. The majority of clicks have energy distributed between two main frequency bands with the higher frequencies delayed in time by 5-20 µs. Signal syntheses using a multiple chirp model based on these observations are able to reproduce much of the spectral variation seen in earlier studies on natural dolphin echolocation pulses. Six synthetic signals are generated and used to drive the dolphin based sonar (DBS) developed through the Biosonar Program office at the SPAWAR Systems Center, San Diego, CA. Analyses of the detailed echo structure for these pulses ensonifying two solid copper spherical targets indicate differences in discriminatory potential between the signals. It is suggested that target discrimination could be improved through the transmission of a signal packet in which the chirp structure is varied between pulses. Evidence that dolphins may use such a strategy themselves comes from observations of variations in the transmissions of dolphins carrying out target detection and identification tasks. © 2007 Acoustical Society of America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-604
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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