This NSF CAREER Award research will transfer biology-inspired ideas into smart, small-scale sensors, and to educate future generations of students and researchers with multi-disciplinary perspectives. Inspired by the micro-scale ears of the fly Ormia, which show remarkable sound localization ability, the research plan is to develop a new class of miniature directional microphones. This entails a new approach for sensor development via the integration of biology-inspired solutions, mechanics modeling, micro-fabrication techniques, and optical detection strategies. The mechanics model will help unravel the underlying science of the fly's hearing mechanism and develop sensor design guidelines. The low coherence interferometer based optical system will overcome the limit of state-of-the-art detection techniques. This new bio-inspired sensing paradigm for sound localization is expected to have a significant impact in areas such as health care, safety, and defense.
Biology-Inspired Miniature Optical Directional Microphones: Bridging Biological Systems and Sensor Technology is a five-year, $400K grant.