Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hearing The Future

During a game of beep baseball, there exists a perfect example of the doppler shift at work. Beep baseball includes an audible softball and bases that beep repeatedly throughout the game. Blind players are able to use anticipatory information based off of these beeping sounds to predict their play. As any object that is making a repetitious sound moves towards your auditory system, the frequency changes, or the proportion of sound waves is greater. If the object is still and you are as well, there will be no change in frequency and it will sound the same. If the object is moving away, the proportion is decreased and will sound completely different then when coming towards you. Since the baseball is obviously being thrown in the direction of the batter, there is a rush of this sound energy. That coupled with other auditory information such as the sound bouncing off of nearby surfaces, a practiced batter is able to accurately predict the precise timing of his swing. Similarly for when he/she is running for a base. They can anticipate the right time to dive because of the doppler shift occurring. The relative change in the loudness of the beep provides them with the information needed. For example, if during two seconds the loudness only increased slightly, that might mean not to dive yet. If, in the next second the loudness dramatically increased compared to those previous two seconds, that could mean that it's time to dive for the base.

I found this breakdown of the doppler shift and how these baseball players have trained their auditory system the most fascinating section of the chapter. What is most inspiring, however, is how the author also describes the great comradery amongst the teammates and competitive spirit they carry. Below is a link to a video with a helpful visual demonstration of the doppler effect:

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree, Reading about the doppler shift in this chapter was very interesting to me, as well. The chapter showed great examples, specifically dealing with the game of baseball, and I think that helped my understanding much more clearer. Individuals who visually impaired use their auditory approach system to know when the ball is coming. The louder the sound the ball makes when thrown, the closer the ball is to the player.