The saying blind as a bat is unfair to these small flying mammals. Although their eyes are not quite as sensitive as ours, they are able to fly around in the dead of night safely avoiding obstacles using a highly evolved form of echolocation, enabling them to assess distance by the time it takes a sound to reflect back off an object to their ears.
Normally the sound they make is well beyond the range of human hearing, but at this year’s Bluedot Festival, in the Arboretum at Jodrell Bank, creative agency Marshmallow Laser Feast created an incredible binaural experience to help us understand how bats use this skill to navigate.
Additional video provided by Sandra Ciampone
We spoke to Antoine Bertin, an artist who specialises in creating immersive audio landscapes, about the unusual devices used to enable us to hear what bats hear, and how echolocation is a skill available to all of us and not just the preserve of bats.