Acoustic-Imaging Computations by Echolocating Bats: Unification of Diversely-Represented Stimulus Features into Whole Images

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 2 (NIPS 1989)

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James Simmons


The echolocating bat, Eptesicus fuscus, perceives the distance to sonar targets from the delay of echoes and the shape of targets from the spectrum of echoes. However, shape is perceived in terms of the target's range proftle. The time separation of echo components from parts of the target located at different distances is reconstructed from the echo spectrum and added to the estimate of absolute delay already derived from the arrival-time of echoes. The bat thus perceives the distance to targets and range depth within dimension, which is computed. The image corresponds to the crosscorrelation function of echoes. Fusion of physiologically distinct time- and frequency-domain representations into a fmal, common time-domain image illustrates the binding of within(cid:173) modality features into a unified, whole image. To support the structure of images along the dimension of range, bats can perceive echo delay with a hyperacuity of 10 nanoseconds.

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