Dolphins’ Hunting Skills Inspire Radar that Spots Hidden Electronics

It’s hard to believe that such peaceful creatures as dolphins could provide the inspiration for a new type of radar capable of pinpointing hidden electronics, but this is a reality.

It has been proved scientifically that dolphins are among the most intelligent beings on our planet, but not all of them are as peaceful as Flipper (which was in fact played by five different female dolphins, as the males of the species tend to be aggressive to one another, thus ending up with more scars). Sure, from time to time they show lost boaters to land, but this is not what scientists were interested in. What researchers wanted to find out is how the dolphins use their hunting techniques to keep fish population under control. Believe it or not, the technique used by dolphins for finding fish even in clouds of bubbles gave birth to TWIPR, or twin inverted pulse radar, a device that could be used for identifying concealed electronics such as bomb triggers or surveillance devices.

This is not the first time dolphins are used for helping humans. In the ’50s, the U.S. started training these creatures to detect mines, and the difference between those and bomb triggers isn’t really that big. Researchers at the University of Southampton in England figured out that sending out two signals instead of one could help them distinguish between electronics and other things, pretty much the same way dolphins are able to distinguish fish from the bubbles.

As the name of the radar suggests, the two signals that are sent out are inverted, one being positive and the other one negative. Whenever these two signals hit a tree or a rock, they cancel each other out. Things change when the two signals bounce off an object made with semiconductors. When that happens, the negative pulse turns into a positive one, thus doubling the power of the signals.

Airports could be the first locations to benefit from the new radar, but the way I see it, the TWIPR could also be used in areas with sensitive data that should not be recorded or photographed. Military bases could definitely make use of such a technology, but also manufacturers who are afraid of industrial spies. Regardless of its destination, it’s rather obvious that the new radar will be used for making life on this planet a bit safer.

If you liked this post, please check this rare torpedo discovered by dolphins and Ukraine’s trained killer dolphins.