Active hearing mechanisms inspire adaptive amplification in an acoustic sensor system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Over many millions of years of evolution, nature has developed some of the most adaptable sensors and sensory systems possible, capable of sensing, conditioning and processing signals in a very power- and size-effective manner. By looking into biological sensors and systems as a source of inspiration, this paper presents the study of a bio-inspired concept of signal processing at the sensor level. By exploiting a feedback control mechanism between a front-end acoustic receiver and back-end neuronal based computation, a nonlinear amplification with hysteretic behavior is created. Moreover, the transient response of the front-end acoustic receiver can also be controlled and enhanced. A theoretical model is proposed and the concept is prototyped experimentally through an embedded system setup that can provide dynamic adaptations of a sensory system comprising a MEMS microphone placed in a closed-loop feedback system. It faithfully mimics the mosquito’s active hearing response as a function of the input sound intensity. This is an adaptive acoustic sensor system concept that can be exploit by sensor and system designers within acoustics and ultrasonic engineering fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-664
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number3
Early online date15 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2018


  • bio-inspired acoustics
  • adaptive sensor system
  • active hearing
  • nonlinear amplification
  • compressive gain
  • feedback computation
  • real-time embedded signal processing
  • prototyping

Cite this