(Dr. Peter Rogers, advisor)
"Design of a Biomimetic Acoustic Sensor"
This thesis presents the modeling, design, fabrication, and testing of a novel fiber optic-based, biomimetic acoustic sensor. The sensor mimics the hair cell on the macula of the fish ear, which is unique in the way that it simultaneously detects frequency and amplitude information to identify an incoming wave signal. Information about the induced deflection of the hair is then sent to the brain as a neural impulse. Arranged in an array, these hair cells can directionalize a sound, potentially by analyzing the deformation patterns induced on the ear’s hair cell array, called the macula. This device will use strain-sensing Bragg-grated optical fiber coupled to a structural backbone and an interferometric demodulation scheme to analyze waveforms. Potential further development and improvement of the individual sensor and construction and development of instrumentation for an array of these sensors will be discussed.