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ERC

SASATIN Report Summary

Project ID: 615030
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Mid-Term Report Summary - SASATIN (Soft and Small: Acoustic Transducers Inspired by Nature)

The SASATIN project seeks to understand how insect hearing systems work, and use that knowledge to inspire the creation of new acoustic systems. The project’s primary goal is to develop this understanding utilising the latest three dimensional (3D) analysis tools. So, rather than take normal microscope images of biological structures the project uses an x-ray system to create 3D images and models of the insect ears. To understand how the ears respond to sound the project uses a laser system that can measure the nanoscale motion of the ear structures in 3D. Finally, the project takes this information and uses it to create 3D computer simulations of the insect ears to analyse how they work. Now at the mid-point of the project all of these techniques have been developed and are being used to investigate several different insect ears, including moths, locusts and crickets. The research into these insect ears continues, as the analysis and development of our understanding of how the ears work in 3D is extremely complex.

At the same time, researchers in the project have been working to take inspiration from the insect ears in order to develop new acoustic systems. This again concentrates on the idea that an acoustic system, like an ear, can be made in 3D, and can move in 3D. Generally engineered acoustic systems like microphone membranes are flat, as that makes them easier to design and build. The SASATIN project is attempting to use information from the biology to produce 3D acoustic systems that will allow us to incorporate interesting functions into the structures, reducing the need for electronics and signal processing. At this mid-point the work has focussed on two main aspects. Firstly, investigating the materials and processes needed to produce useful 3D acoustic structures, using the same 3D x-ray system and 3D laser motion system as in the biology work to analyse the results. And secondly, using 3D computer simulations, similar to those developed for the insect ears, to create and test new ideas for acoustic systems. This work continues, with initial prototype acoustic sensors planned for demonstration in 2017.

Reported by

UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE
United Kingdom
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