Remember in the Dark Knight where Bruce Wayne fires up his seriously badass privacy invading phone sonar machine to map out the whole of Gotham to track the Joker? Researchers studying echolocation have essentially just made it an amazing reality.
Using a brand new advanced algorithm, coupled with a few microphones dotted around the place, researchers can now map out a room using echolocation just like a bat or dolphin would. By treating echos from walls as a mirror image of the initial sound, the complex maths enables scientists to map out a room, almost instantly, from just a clap or click of the fingers. The breakthrough came in the form of a technique that was able to identify and eliminate sounds that reflected off smaller objects and more than once of disparate walls.
The researchers reckon that this kind of technology could easily be built into anything equipped with a processor and a microphone, which means things like phones and tablets. From finding the precise position of gunmen using sound recordings of shootings, to eliminating echoes from phone calls or providing enhanced indoor location data for apps and games, the possibilities for this amazing tech are endless. [PNAS]