Billboard Houses Bats and Translates Their Speech, Tells Us What's Up


All Images Courtesy of Chris Woebken

If you've ever seen a colony of bats on the move and wondered what they're up to, this is the billboard for you. The "Bat Billboard," a collaboration of designer Chris Woebken and artist Natalie Jeremijenko, is a design that will not only house bats, but that will translate their calls and tell us humans what's going on.

Bats face a variety of threats, foremost among them White Nose Syndrome. And that poses a problem for humans as well: Bats keep mosquito populations under control, pollinate wild plants and disperse seeds. They're worth $53 billion to the American economy.

But their nocturnal ways and occasional killing spree give them a lot of bad press. That's where the Bat Billboard comes in, to "create novel social interactions between bats and humans."

The idea isn't so much that bats and humans will start going out for drinks together, but that humans will better understand the important role bats play in our ecosystem and economy. And what better way to make people learn than through advertising?

According to Woebken and Jermijenko, the idea of translating the bats' speech isn't that far-fetched:

These ultrasonic bat calls can be made audible to the human audible range with bat-detectors. Bat calls often sound like beautiful patterns of clicks that are very similar to electronic music. Biologists are building libraries to map bat chatter, towards an understanding of their social conversations.

However, that doesn't mean that the Bat Billboard isn't going to hit street corners anytime soon. It's a cool idea though, and a useful warning system in case the bats ever decide they've had enough of humans running things.

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More cool bat news:
Bat Brain Research Highlights Human Selective Hearing Skills
Carnivorous Plant Lures Bats to Feed on Their Guano
Cool High-Rise Bat Habitat Draws Nature's Pest-Fighters to New York Sculpture Park (Video)

Tags: Bats | Biology | Electronics

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