Insect-inspired acoustic micro-sensors

Zhang, Y and Reid, A and Windmill, JFC (2018) Insect-inspired acoustic micro-sensors. Current Opinion in Insect Science, 30. pp. 33-38. ISSN 2214-5745 (

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Micro-Electro Mechanical System (MEMS) microphones inspired by the remarkable phonotactic capability of Ormia ochracea offer the promise of microscale directional microphones with a greatly reduced need for post-processing of signals. Gravid Ormia ochracea females can locate their host cricket’s 5 kHz mating calls to an accuracy of less than 2° despite having a distance of approximately 500 µm between the ears. MEMS devices base on the principles of operation of O. ochracea’s hearing system have been well studied, however commercial implementation has proven challenging due to the system's reliance on carefully tailored ratios of stiffness and damping, which are difficult to realize in standard MEMS fabrication processes, necessitating a trade-off between wide-band operation and sensitivity. A survey of the variety of strategies that have been followed to address these inherent challenges is presented.