How bio acoustics help understand vocal interaction of rodents

Sound localization technology by Sorama in bio acoustics

Rodents are often used as a behavioral measure in research because of their social and affective significance. Radboud University in the Netherlands has been studying rodent behavior for many years. For their recent bio acoustics research a hybrid ultrasonic tracking system (HyVL) was built that fluently integrates the high-resolution Sorama Cam64 acoustic camera with high-quality ultrasonic microphones to detect sound with such precision, that researchers can visualize even the smallest change in sound.

Hybrid ultrasonic tracking system (HyVL)

The HyVL system is the first to achieve millimeter precision, which is over 3 times higher than other systems. With this precision researchers from Radboud University were able to accurately analyze mouse courtship interactions and discovered that the fraction of female vocalizations has likely been overestimated previously due to imprecise localization.

Bernhard Englitz, Associate Professor at Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior (Radboud University) in the Netherlands: “Previous research in animal communication, in particular in rodents, has suffered from the lack of precise sound localization, which means that it remained unclear which animal was ‘saying’ what. This strongly limited the conclusions that could be drawn from the results, and often required the use of unnatural paradigms, like anesthetizing one animal. Our new system finally allows non-invasive, precise study of rodent communication during natural interaction. We will soon combine with recordings from the brains of the rodents to understand the neural basis of communication better”

Love is in the air

Bernhard Englitz: “Our research has been greatly supported by the interaction with the Sorama experts on many matters related to sound localization. The Sorama CAM64 has performed stellar, delivering high-quality data without a hitch for hours of acquisition.”

The acoustic camera was used to analyze mouse courtship interactions and demonstrate that males and females vocalize in very different ways depending on their location. HyVL substantially improves the precision with which social communication between rodents can be studied. It is also affordable, open-source, easy to set up, can be integrated with existing setups, and reduces the required number of experiments and animals.

Bio acoustics

Visualizing sound using the Sorama L642 or CAM64 plays an important factor in many types of research. Being able to accurately locate and visualize sound and connect it to behavior helps researchers map animal behavior and use this data in their research of human behavior. For example, this research can help improve treatment of neurological disorders. Research using bio acoustics can also be used for product development. Sorama has worked together with Stanford University and Eindhoven University of Technology to research how hummingbirds hum. The knowledge gained in this research helps improve aircraft and drone rotors as well as laptops and vacuum cleaner fans. Making them quieter, by copying the way a hummingbird uses its wings.

New level of accuracy

Data accuracy is a key factor in diligent research. Being able to visualize sound with maximum accuracy can completely change the way researchers work, including the outcome of their studies. At Sorama we aim to make the world sound right. Whether it is silence or noise, we help environmental specialists, product developers, engineers and researchers locate and visualize sound so they can use this data to reduce noise pollution, enhance acoustic experiences and create or improve products and learn. “The Sorama devices are marvels of engineering and truly enable a new level of accuracy in our understanding of vocalizations”, says Bernhard Englitz.

Source: Rodent ultrasonic vocal interaction resolved with millimeter precision using hybrid beamforming