A study of active artificial hair cell models inspired by outer hair cell somatic motility Academic Article uri icon


  • The cochlea displays an important, nonlinear amplification of sound-induced oscillations. In mammals, this amplification is largely powered by the somatic motility of the outer hair cells. The resulting cochlear amplifier has three important characteristics useful for hearing: an amplification of responses from low sound pressures, an improvement in frequency selectivity, and an ability to transduce a broad range of sound pressure levels. These useful features can be incorporated into designs for active artificial hair cells, bio-inspired sensors for use as microphones, accelerometers, or other dynamic sensors. The sensor consists of a cantilever beam with piezoelectric actuators. A feedback controller applies a voltage to the actuators to mimic the outer hair cells somatic motility. This article describes three control laws for an active artificial hair cell inspired by models of the outer hair cells somatic motility. The first control law is based on a phenomenological model of the cochlea while the second and third models incorporate physiological aspects of the biological cochlea to further improve sensor performance. Simulations show that these models qualitatively reproduce the key aspects of the mammalian cochlea, namely, amplification of oscillations from weak stimuli, higher quality factors, and a wider input dynamic range.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures

author list (cited authors)

  • Joyce, B. S., & Tarazaga, P. A.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Joyce, Bryan S||Tarazaga, Pablo A

publication date

  • July 2016