http://wildlifeacoustics.com/education • Cost: Echo Meter Touch Ultrasonic Module: $499 (Includes $75 iTunes Gift Card); Echo Meter Touch Ultrasonic Module/Curriculum Guide: $523 (Includes $75 iTunes Gift Card); Echo Meter Touch App: Free (auto ID in app purchase $149, currently on iOS only)
Wildlife Acoustics’ Echo Meter Touch is a bat detector, recorder, and analyzer. The Echo Meter Touch is a key fob-sized ultrasonic module that plugs into an iPhone or iPad and accompanies a free Echo Meter Touch app. The module-app combination provides teachers and students with a fully functional spectrogram viewer that allows budding biologists to listen to and record bats in real time.
Quality and Effectiveness: The Echo Meter Touch module, along with the iOS app for both the iPad and iPhone, and the accompanying curriculum guide and DVD, make for a complete package to learn about these interesting, and often misunderstood, creatures.
Ease of Use: The ultrasonic module is very easy to install. Simply download the app and plug it into any iPhone or iPad with a lighting port and it’s ready to use. The app makes it fun to discover and automatically identify the bat species (this feature is available with an additional in-app purchase). The app also allows for recording the bats’ echolocations on a spectrograph and will pinpoint them on a map. You can also export a wav file to your computer.
Creative Use of Technology: The Echo Meter Touch module gives users the ability to locate and identify a bat’s echolocation in a very compact package. Since the echolocation signals are not audible to the human ear, it gives educators a tool to teach about bats that would normally be out of reach.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment: The Echo Meter Touch module gives students the ability to work with tools similar to those used by researchers in the field. Furthermore, along with the mapping and identification features, students and teachers can do a variety of in-depth research on bats. The optional curriculum and DVD make this a complete educational package. For optimal use, this app should be used at night, outdoors, and with an iPad with 3G coverage to ensure that you make the most of the software’s GPS mapping features.
• Easy to set up and use
• Includes accompanying curriculum
• Displays full color, recordable, and zoomable spectrograms that mark the echolocations, and maps them as well
OVERALL RATING: The Echo Meter Touch and curriculum guide make it easy to get a complete understanding of bats. The use of this technology lends itself to many facets of a science curriculum, including the biology of the animal and the science of echolocation, as well as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map out bat locations and habitats.