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Physical Analysis of Several Organic Signals for Human Echolocation: Hand and Finger Produced Pulses

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In the first part of this work we studied several oral signals suitable for human echolocation. Palatal clicks were proven to be optimal pulses for this task. In the second part of this series, we analyze, from a physical and psychoacoustical point of view, the sounds produced by hand clapping and finger snapping. One additional sound is studied: a loud sound made by clapping one finger against the vacuum space between fingers near the knuckles. The results of our experiments show that these sounds are fairly good for echolocation. The best one is the knuckle vacuum pulse, due to its extraordinary acoustical properties. This sound has many of the good characteristics of palatal clicks with an even richer content in the high frequency part of the spectrum. Besides, this sound exhibits an interesting symmetry in the ultrasound range, which palatal clicks do not have. Experimenters noticed that, in spite of their sound quality, hand and finger produced pulses were inferior to palatal clicks, mainly due to difficulties in the relative orientation between the head and the hands, without sight clues, lack of reproducibility and muscle fatigue during long sessions. Some people with basic echolocation skills, however, found these sounds useful for distant sources, because they were able to make such pulses louder than palatal clicks.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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