Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Just for fun, I uploaded a few videos of some work I did at Manchster University where we put dead bats into a micro CAT scanner. Taking the 4000 or so x-ray images of the bat as it rotated in the chamber I stitched them together into a film. I hasten to add that the bats had all died from natural causes and had been in my freezer for years. In the first one, of a Daubenton's bat, you can see nice details of the skull, teeth, Cochlea and shoulder.


The second is of a long eared bat, you can see the ears as light shadows. Again, nice detail in the cochlea.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Whiskered bats

Still processing the photos from the Top Hill Low batbox check. We found a couple of whiskered bats, which were a challenge to photograph as they are notoriously wiggly and vicious, but I did get some pictures of the tragus and 'gentleman's part' which are identification features.

And those of a more delicate constitution, look away now...

Film Photography

Nice article on film photography and the Lomo cameras on the BBC website today. I know a lot of photographers who still prefer to use film when they can, it's a totally different process and feel to digital photography. They both have their place in my opinion.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Bats and Biomimetics on television

Tonight on BBC1 at 9pm, I'll be on television with Richard Hammond as part of his 'Miracles of Nature' series looking at Biomimetics, how nature and evolution have inspired engineers. This was filmed in some caves in Bristol where we looked at how echolocating Egyptian fruit-bats can avoid obstacles and how this has inspired technology to help the blind. The work on these bat's echolocation call structures, and the technology we developed to record echolocation went into the 'ultracane' which is a guideance device for the visually impaired. There is some fantastic footage in high-speed infra-red of the bats obviously detecting the wires and pulling in their wings at the last moment. There is also some amazing footage of a blind mountain cyclist using the ultracane technology to steer himself down a forest track.

The footage we shot of the bats actually took about two days, not including the extra two days it took Hannah Sneyd, the researcher for the programme, to bat-proof the caves which are old sandstone mines for the Bristol glass industry and which run under Britstol docks.

We actually filmed two alternative versions, one with Richard Hammond for the BBC and a version without Richard for German TV and the international satellite market. This latter version features some amazing footage using an 'acoustic camera' that superimposes the location of a sound onto a video feed.