Eerie diver image allegedly reveals how dolphins see with sound

dolphin echolocation diver sound wave
A private dolphin communication research organization founded by Jack Kassewitz and his wife, Donna Kassewitz, has released a controversial image that allegedly shows an underwater diver as it would appear to a dolphin. The image was generated using echolocation data collected by the research arm of the nonprofit organization.

Under the guidance of Kassewitz, the Speakdolphin project focuses on recording and analyzing communication by dolphins, whales, and other cetaceans. The team uses cutting edge digital recording gear to capture the complete audio spectrum of dolphin vocalization and echolocation. These sounds are then analyzed to understand dolphin language. The overall goal of the project is to facilitate communication between humans and cetaceans.

Researchers as far back as Jacques Cousteau believe dolphins can “see” using sound by emitting high-frequency clicks that travel through the water and bounce off objects in the dolphin’s path. This echolocation information has been studied for decades, but recent observations by Kassewitz showed that dolphins not used in his experiments were able to identify objects from recorded dolphin sounds.

To understand how dolphins can see using sound, Kassewitz collaborated with English acoustics engineer, John Stuart Reid, who is the co-inventor of the cymascope. The cymascope is an instrument used to visualize sound by applying the principles of Cymatics, which uses sound vibrations to produce patterns on a surface that is covered by a thin layer of particles, paste or liquid. Kassewitz and Reid experimented with the dolphin sounds on the cymascope and produced startling results.


Kassewitz began by recording the echolocating sounds that dolphin makes when it is exposed to different objects, including a cube, cross, a rubber duck, and a human being. When Reid ran these sound files on the cymascope, the audio sequence produced different patterns  and shapes that correspond with the image that dolphin saw. The result that caught Kassewitz’s attention was the one in which the dolphin saw the human. This particular sound clip generated a ghost-like image of a human being. Kassewitz then consulted with 3D Systems, a leader in 3D digital design and fabrication, to convert 2D cymascope image data into a 3D-printable file.

Kassewitz and his team are in the process of writing up their findings and plan to submit it for publication in a major journal in 2016 and, if accepted, will present their data at the XXXIV International Meeting for Marine Mammalogy. Though intriguing, these results will be subject to significant scrutiny as many within the scientific community consider the discipline of cymatics to be a pseudoscience.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Home Theater

Looking for the best 4K Ultra HD TVs you can buy? Here are five great options

If it's time to upgrade your old 1080p to a new 4K model but you don't know what to look for, fear not, as we're here with a list of the best 4K Ultra HD TVs to help make your buying process as easy as possible.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.