Pocket Bats is our new outreach project using Augment, a free augmented reality app available on iPhone and Android devices, to make 3D digital models of bat skulls from Santana Lab research freely available to the public. You can now download and print pocket-sized Pocket Bat cards for a variety of fascinating species featuring charming portraits of bats by bat biologist Dr. M. Brock Fenton.
By scanning a Pocket Bat card using the Augment app, a 3D augmented reality skull from the bat species shown on your card will appear on top of the card for you to observe and manipulate. We have also linked each skull model to its species information page on the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web, which can be accessed by tapping the “Webpage” icon in Augment . See “Available Pocket Bat Cards” to start learning about bat skull anatomy, diet, and more!
We will continue to add new species cards, as well as models including jaw musculature, and are also in the beginning stages of developing simple, inquiry-based educational materials to accompany the models, so stay tuned!
AVAILABLE POCKET BAT CARDS
Pocket Bat cards that you can print and scan using the Augment App to view 3D Augmented Reality bat skull models based on museum specimens. Pocket Bat cards should still work correctly if printed in black and white. Card stock is recommended for printing, but not essential.
HOW TO VIEW AUGMENTED REALITY POCKET BAT SKULLS USING AUGMENT
Follow these simple instructions to get started with Augment. When viewing Pocket Bats using Augment, try picking up, rotating, and zooming in on Pocket Bat cards!
HOW POCKET BATS TIE INTO ONGOING RESEARCH IN THE SANTANA LAB
Bat skulls come in many different shapes, and differences in skull shape in bats is largely related to differences in diet between species, and differences in presence or type of echolocation they use. However, most bats are very small, which makes it difficult to fully appreciate how diverse skull shape is in this group.
In the Santana lab, we are studying feeding adaptations in bats by taking high-resolution microCT scans of bat skulls from museums and using specialized computer software to make 3D digital replicas of the bat skulls from which we take measurements for our research. Creating 3D digital models of bat skulls from microCT scans allows us to blow up bat skulls to any size, which makes it much easier to appreciate differences in skull anatomy, and also makes it possible to easily share museum specimens without risk of damage to the original skulls.
These studies are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF award 1557125).