• 39th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference - March 18-22, 2024 at the Anaheim Marriott

    The Premier AT Conference

39th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Design and Optimization of Assistive Ultrasonic Echolocation

Date & Time
Thursday, March 21, 2024 - 10:20 AM PDT  
Platinum 1  
In this session, we describe “Robin,” a prototype wearable device for human echolocation drawing inspiration from echolocating bats, established practices and techniques of unassisted human oral echolocation, and previous biomimetic-assisted echolocation prototypes. Robin builds on this work by incorporating practical design considerations and directly addressing engineering and cost constraints imposed by a fully self-contained wearable platform. We will describe our user testing approach, starting with a large-scale online study using a simple virtual auditory display that simulates the effect of varying key design parameters. We embed this approach in the broader strategy of empirically exploring signal spaces, applied to ultrasonic echolocation and wearable assistive technology generally. Finally, we discuss how alternate or complementary sensing technologies like Robin might be used in future mobility aids that similarly leverage biosonar-derived, context-adaptive design principles.  
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Disability Specific
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Research & Development
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
What does it take to make bat sonar practically useful for blind travelers? Attendees will learn about the basic principles, applied practice and engineering tradeoffs of designing, testing and refining a prototype wearable echolocation device.  
Primary Topic
Blind/Low Vision  
Secondary Topics
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Mobility
  • Research
Session Type
Journal Track  


  • Ian Reynolds
  • Santani Teng
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

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