After getting her start by studying how schooling fish come to consensus, Abaid has broken new ground with bat colonies. Bats can adjust their signals so they don’t overlap with their neighbors’ frequencies. Abaid suspected they may be able to share information too, so she modeled how they might listen in on each other to better avoid obstacles. She went to China to line the bat cave with infrared cameras and an ultra-sonic mic that could gather data to verify her model. “The big idea is to tell if and how they use each others’ signals,” she says. At the same time, she’s designing bat-inspired ultrasonic sensors to improve communications among robots.