Supplementary Figures and Tables from Sensory gaze stabilization in echolocating bats

2019-10-01T10:39:18Z (GMT) by O. Eitan G. Kosa Y. Yovel
Sensing from a moving platform is challenging for both man-made machines and animals. Animals' heads jitter during movement, so if the sensors they carry are not stabilized, any spatial estimation might be biased. Flying animals, like bats, seriously suffer from this problem because flapping flight induces rapid changes in acceleration which moves the body up and down. For echolocating bats, the problem is crucial. Because they emit a sound to sense the world, an unstable head means sound energy pointed in the wrong direction. It is unknown how bats mitigate this problem. By tracking the head and body of flying fruit bats, we show that they stable their heads, accurately maintaining a fixed acoustic-gaze relative to a target. Bats can solve the stabilization task even in complete darkness using only echo-based information. Moreover, the bats pointed their echolocation beam below the target and not towards it, a strategy that should result in better estimations of target elevation.