Ninth in a series of articles about the history of the mill and its past and current tenants.
|Employees of Wildlife Acoustics, Maynard, MA. Taken 2016.|
Ian Arganat, founder and president, front row center, in sports jacket.
Images courtesy of Wildlife Acoustics, Inc.
Wildlife has 16 employees working in Maynard. They are responsible for management, R&D, marketing, sales, etc. Basically, everything but manufacturing, which takes place in Westford. Aside from bits of the internal electronics, this is a 100% U.S. company. Occasionally there is even a bit of field testing in and around Maynard and Stow. Plus, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which includes the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, is a customer.
When asked how all this got started, Ian Agranat, founder and president, replied that by 2002 he had completed his sale of and responsibilities for Arganat Systems, a software company located in Maynard, and was at loose ends. He was out on a hike with his brother-in-law, an avid outdoorsman and birder, who casually wondered “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a device that could identify a bird by its song?”
A million dollars or so later, Ian had a device that worked – sort of – but was far too expensive for bird-watching hobbyists. What he did have, however, was a device that was almost good enough to meet the professional research needs of environmental consulting firms, governments and academic researchers. A bit more R&D, and voila!
|Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter SM4BAT for recording sounds|
made by bats. Click on photos to enlarge.
The product family includes Song Meter, which works for land animals and birds, a variation engineered for the much higher pitch needed for detecting bat sounds, and submersible versions for fresh and saltwater listening. The Song Meter could be used to determine if spring peeper frogs gather at Maynard and Stow vernal ponds. Recently, the company launched Echo Meter Touch – a device and accompanying software that can make smartphones and smartpads into bat sound detecting systems that in the recent past would have cost thousands of dollars.
|Echo Meter Touch mounted |
on a smartphone makes the phone
a bat recording device.
|Wildlife Acoustics logo|
What humans hear listening to humans has some interesting quirks. Although people can consciously speak above or below their natural pitch, female voices naturally fall into a 165 to 255 Hz range and male voices 85 to 160 Hz. Research suggests that women are more sexually attracted by low pitch male voices (Barry White, anyone?), while men find women with higher pitched voices sexy (maybe not as far as the baby talk range). Male low pitch tends correlate with both larger body size and more testosterone. Women high pitch tends to correlate with younger age, and perhaps better fertility. Volume counts, too. Dialing down the decibels and getting a bit breathy causes the listener to lean in to hear, which works for both sides. Let’s talk about this.
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