Island 3 Vernier Go! Motion

Scientific Data and Analysis

Measuring Distance With Sound

Since we cannot see sound waves, it can be a little hard to understand how they behave.  It is easier if we think about other types of waves that we can see.If you drop a pebble in a pool of water, it creates ripples – a series of small waves.  When the waves reach the edge of the pool, they bounce off and travel back in the opposite direction. If we know how fast the waves travel and measure how long it takes for the waves to return to their starting spot, we could figure out the distance to the edge of the pool.

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Vernier Go! Motion

Vernier Go Motion Sensor

The Vernier Go!Motion sensor uses this same idea. It creates sound waves that travel at a known speed to an object in front of it. The waves then bounce off the object and move back to the sensor. By measuring how long it takes the wave to return, it can figure out how far away the object is located. We call this echolocation. 

The Vernier Go!Motion sensor uses ultrasonic sound waves. This means that they are too high-pitched for humans to hear. Why do you think it uses ultrasonic sound waves?