Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Echo Meter Touch

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Echo Meter Touch

Article excerpt

Specifications

Manufacturer: Wildlife Acoustics

Price: $499 (Ultrasonic Module); $149 (Bat Auto-ID feature)

Website: www.wildlifeacoustics.com/education/

Grade level: Elementary through College

The Echo Meter Touch is a hardware module (with ultrasonic microphone) and software app that work together to let you monitor, record, and analyze bat echolocation. The module plugs into the power port of an Apple iPhone or iPad. Considering that bats represent about 20% of all classified mammal species with over 1,000 species worldwide, this device could have broad applications.

So, how does it work? Bats emit sound waves to find prey and navigate in flight. The bats' ultrasonic sounds are detected, recorded, and logged by the Echo Meter Touch. Using the Global Positioning System (GPS) function of your Apple device, this product will also record the location. These recordings can be saved for later analysis. It is amazing to me that this device can automatically identify the species of the bat, based on how the bat sounds. In my area, I was able to find several Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bat). Near our school, I found Lasionnycteris noctivagans (silver-haired bat), and then was surprised to find in my own backyard a Lasiurus cinereus (hoary bat) hovering around my swimming pool.

To get started, you'll need an iPhone or cellular-equipped iPad. The Echo Meter Touch Bat Detector software can then be downloaded for free from iTunes. I also recommend the Bat Auto-ID feature, available on

iTunes for an additional $149, which automatically identifies bats in the field. This software updates itself with new bat classifiers as they become available. Without this feature, you will get records of the bats' locations but not precise identifications. …

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