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Fly Used as Model for Battery-Free, Intelligent Hearing Aid

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Elizabeth M
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Inspiration from nature
Elizabeth M   8/4/2014 8:36:34 AM
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Inventors are finding a lot of inspiration from nature for new devices and robots of all types, and this one is particularly interesting and holds promise for future hearing devices. The structure of the fly's hearing organ in this case is very well-suited as a model for a better microphone that could be used in a hearing aid; the potential to be battery free is also good news for people who need these types of devices.

78RPM
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Re: Inspiration from nature
78RPM   8/4/2014 12:07:29 PM
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I love this kind of technology that exemplifies BEAM (biological, electronic, aesthetic, mechanical) robotics. Many non-natural signal processing methods have been made before that involve microcontrollers running programs, use of mathematic equations such as FFTs, phase detection algorithms. A fly knows nothing about Laplace and Fourier Transforms (nor do most people). But this device is more elegant in that it imitates nature and even generates the energy it needs. I would love to hear more about this as the project develops.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Inspiration from nature
Elizabeth M   8/5/2014 5:44:30 AM
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Thank you for shedding light on what kind of technology this is exactly, 78RPM. Yes, there is a lot of inspiration to be found in nature, that's for sure. I'll try to keep an eye on the project to stay on top of future developments.

tekochip
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Motion Sensor
tekochip   8/4/2014 7:04:03 PM
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This device would also make an excellent motion sensor.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Motion Sensor
Elizabeth M   8/5/2014 6:03:26 AM
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Ah, that's an interesting concept, tekochip. So motion by hearing instead of actual motion detection, is that what you mean? That could work.

tekochip
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Re: Motion Sensor
tekochip   8/5/2014 7:27:51 AM
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Ultrasonic motion detection is a method employed by many burglar alarm system, usually with a Piezo transducer.  The advantage, and disadvantage, over a PIR is that ultrasonic echoes from a single sensor can cover an entire room.


78RPM
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Re: Motion Sensor
78RPM   8/5/2014 11:51:23 AM
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I like your concept Tekochip. If I catch your drift, a burglar alarm with directional sense of sound or motion could surprise the guy (they're all men, right? What's wrong with men?) and shine a flashlight in his face in the night. This would either provoke a pseudo-violent attempt on his part or cause him to flee.  In either case, he'll flee upon awareness of his detection and probable photograph of his clothing and shape being uploaded to the cloud. Meanwhile, outdoor cameras would ... yadda yadda yadda.

I've always enjoyed that picture of you in the plane.  What kind of airplane is that? Is it yours? Many years ago I worked in engineering flight test at Cessna.  That's me on the left with my Great Dane in the truck.

tekochip
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Re: Motion Sensor
tekochip   8/5/2014 12:35:48 PM
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Ultrasonic motion detection is a time honored technique.  What happens is that you send out an ultrasonic tone, and if the echo is a different frequency, caused by a Doppler shift, then you know that something is moving.
 
The plane is, indeed, my much-loved Cessna 172M.  That's very cool that you worked at Cessna, probably many years after mine rolled off the production floor.  Cessna has made more than 60,000 172s, with 7306 of the 172M, making it the highest production variant.  I'm proud to say that I soloed on N172SS.  Note the vanity tail number, 172SS was Cessna's test unit for the 172M.  The day I soloed I came home to an empty house with nobody to share my joy with.  I had to tell someone, so on a whim I sent an email to Captain Jim Lovell, and he wrote me back right away.


78RPM
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Re: Motion Sensor
78RPM   8/5/2014 12:40:51 PM
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Cool story. When does your book come out? :-)

There were two kinds of pilots at Cessna. The engineering test pilots were thinking "Lift is a coefficient of drag."  Meanwhile the production test pilots were delivering planes to customers around the country.  They worked maybe 60 hours a week. Finally, they go to the boss and say, "I gotta have some time off."  So on their day off they went to Cessna Employees' Flying Club and checked out a plane for the day.  They thought those engineering guys didn't know how to make this thing perform. Vroooom.

78RPM
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Re: Motion Sensor
78RPM   8/5/2014 12:56:53 PM
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@tekochip, I forgot to mention that when I was a child I wrote to Olive Ann Beach (CEO of Beachcraft) and asked if I could have pictures of some airplanes.  She sent me about a dozen lithograph posters from the marketing department of Beach airplanes in flight.

When I was at Cessna, I sometimes got to ride on the Citation II jet under development.  The front landing gear for a while was a pipe with a caster wheel. I sat down with my feet straddling a bundle of wires. Sometimes they were cabin pressure bump tests that required the plane to climb to 3000 feet by the end of the runway. Once I got to go to nearly 40,000 feet as I recall.

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Motion Sensor
Elizabeth M   8/6/2014 4:47:44 AM
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I didn't know that, tekochip. So yeah, this could definitely be applied to motion sensors as well.

Gorski
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Platinum
Fly as model for hearing aid
Gorski   8/5/2014 11:03:18 AM
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As a recent user of hearing aids, I appluad this kind of study. I was shocked at teh cost and life of my hearing aids. In this age of super electronics the cost and life expectancy were very disapointing. I think this research could lead to an affordable, long-lasting hearing aid. Just in time for the deaf boomers to use tehm.

 

Gorski-Prince

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Fly as model for hearing aid
Elizabeth M   8/6/2014 4:52:49 AM
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It's always good to get a personal response from our readers who may be in need of some of the technology I write about, Gorski. I'm gald you think this could be helpful to people who need these devices. My father wears a hearing aid; I will ask him what his experience is with current technology.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Fly as model for hearing aid
Cabe Atwell   8/6/2014 6:23:26 PM
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2mm, not as small as I was expecting.

Nature inspires tech again!

C

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Fly as model for hearing aid
Elizabeth M   8/7/2014 7:55:35 AM
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Yes, indeed, Cabe. Seems to be no end to the inspirations designesr find in nature, and sometimes in the most obscure of animals! (Case in point--who knew about this type of fly, and why would one think to study it for something so specific??)

Gorski
User Rank
Platinum
Fly as model for hearing aid
Gorski   8/5/2014 11:03:18 AM
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As a recent user of hearing aids, I appluad this kind of study. I was shocked at teh cost and life of my hearing aids. In this age of super electronics the cost and life expectancy were very disapointing. I think this research could lead to an affordable, long-lasting hearing aid. Just in time for the deaf boomers to use tehm.

 

Gorski-Prince

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