Imitating cricket mechanosensory hairs: dream or reality?

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    MEMS offers exciting possibilities for bio-inspired mechanosensors. Over the last years we have been working on cricket inspired hair-sensors for flow observations. In stimulating interactions within EU consortia important insights have surfaced and MEMS sensors with demonstrated acoustic sensitivity have been presented. However, our sensors are readily outperformed by nature. So the central question is how to build hair-sensors that can take on the competition with nature. What needs to be done to improve their sensitivity? How have the natural sensors developed over time and to which perceptual tasks have they become adapted? Can MEMS sensors be made accordingly and does this make sense from an application viewpoint? This knowledge, input by biologists and bio-physicists into biomimetic activities is of paramount importance to the designers and engineers. Working with biological material, given its tendency to display high variance in space and time (e.g. stiffening of biological tissue after preparation for experiments) often turns out to be difficult or hard to interpret. This is where MEMS can help biology as well. Where biology and biophysics deliver important insights to (MEMS-) engineers, reversely very usable and relatively predictable structures can be provided by (MEMS-) engineers to biologists aiding in understanding the more complex biological systems. In this respect the authors collaborate on various aspects of flow-observation and characterisation of biological and artificial echanosensors. E.g. sinusoidal flows around hairs and hair-arrays are subject of study. Future work will include characterisation of viscous coupling between mechanosensory hairs. Beyond bio-inspiration MEMS-sensors have possibilities that are not necessarily available in biological model-systems, e.g. dynamic sensor adaptation and beneficial use of nonlinearity (parametric electromechanical filtering and stochastic resonance) which will be discussed as well.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationSensors and Sensing in Biology and Engineering 2008
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherEngineering Conferences International
    Number of pages2
    ISBN (Print)not assigned
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2008
    EventInternational Conference on Sensor and Sensing in Biology and Engineering - Cetraro, Italy
    Duration: 12 Oct 200816 Oct 2008

    Publication series

    PublisherEngineering Conferences International


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Sensor and Sensing in Biology and Engineering
    Other12-16 October 2008


    • TST-Life like
    • EWI-14625
    • IR-65224
    • METIS-255013

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