3D printed sensor inspired by trichoid sensilla of insects, early studies of the mechanical structure

Martinelli, Samuele and Windmill, James and Reid, Andrew Baxter (2023) 3D printed sensor inspired by trichoid sensilla of insects, early studies of the mechanical structure. In: Invertebrate Sound and Vibration 2023, 2022-03-31 - 2023-04-02, University of Lincoln.

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Nature has, for the longest time, inspired mankind in the development of new technologies. In the past few decades, thanks to thorough biological studies on insects we have come to better understand how their different sensory systems work. A fascinating sensing mechanism is the hair-like structure, often called trichoid sensilla or trichobothria, which are mainly used to sense low frequency, near field, sound and air vibrations. Nevertheless, some iterations of this sensing mechanism are used as touch sensors, and it is believed that from this structure stem other sensilla that sense odour, temperature, and acceleration, as well as gyroscope-like mechanisms. This project will use 3D printing techniques to create a sensor inspired by the trichoid sensilla of insects (mainly the hinged structure of the caterpillar B. Brassicae, and the cerci of crickets previously studied by the EU CILIA project). This would provide sensing of low frequency sounds at different frequencies based on small variations of the structure (e.g., different diameter or hair length). This can sense frequency specific sounds with great accuracy and, used together in array structures, measurement of the frequency component of a sound without the need for a computationally expensive Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT).