Biomimicry
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Ecologist Develops Elephant-inspired Hearing Aid

Ecologist Develops Elephant-inspired Hearing Aid | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"American ecologist and hearing specialist Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell is developing a new hearing aid inspired by elephants. Along with sound, elephants pick up ground-based vibrations, as the skin of their feet and trunks contains mechanoreceptors that can sense them. [...] She has partnered with HNU Photonics, a research company based on Maui, Hawaii, to develop a patch that adheres to the skin; this transduces sound into vibrations, which the braininterprets as a kind of Braille or Morse code."

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Super Fly Hearing Powers Captured in Miniature Microphone

Super Fly Hearing Powers Captured in Miniature Microphone | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"A new microphone based on a fly's ear could spur the next big improvement in the acoustical performance of hearing aids, as well as inspire better instruments wherever optimizing directional noise capture to improve signal to noise ratio matters."

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Mimicking the Super Hearing of a Cricket-Hunting Fly

Mimicking the Super Hearing of a Cricket-Hunting Fly | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Ormia ochracea is a little, yellow fly of the American south whose breeding strategy has an outsize ick factor. It deposits its larvae on the bodies of male crickets. The larvae then eat their way into their unwilling hosts, and devour them from the inside. What is most remarkable, though, is that the female fly locates the crickets by sound, homing in on the he-cricket’s stridulations (the chirping that results from the wings rubbing together) with uncanny accuracy. The cricket’s chirp is a smear of sound across the scale from the 5 kilohertz carrier frequency to around 20 kHz. And, as anybody who has tried to evict a passionate cricket from a tent or cabin knows, the sound is maddeningly hard to pinpoint.

With an auditory apparatus—let’s call them ears—only 1.5 millimeter across, ochracea pulls off a major feat of acoustic location; a number of engineering groups are working on devices to duplicate the fly’s sensitivity. Now, a team at the University of Texas at Austin has built a prototype replica of O. ochracea’s ear. Michael L. Kuntzman and Neal A. Hall, researchers in the school’s electrical and computer engineering department, describe the device and its performance in Applied Physics Letters."

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