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Concept: Microphone


A microfluidic device was developed to separate heterogeneous particle or cell mixtures in a continuous flow using acoustophoresis. In this device, two identical surface acoustic waves (SAWs) generated by interdigital transducers (IDTs) propagated toward a microchannel, which accordingly built up a standing surface acoustic wave (SSAW) field across the channel. A numerical model, coupling a piezoelectric effect in the solid substrate and acoustic pressure in the fluid, was developed to provide a better understanding of SSAW-based particle manipulation. It was found that the pressure nodes across the channel were individual planes perpendicular to the solid substrate. In the separation experiments, two side sheath flows hydrodynamically focused the injected particle or cell mixtures into a very narrow stream along the centerline. Particles flowing through the SSAW field experienced an acoustic radiation force that highly depends on the particle properties. As a result, dissimilar particles or cells were laterally attracted toward the pressure nodes at different magnitudes, and were eventually switched to different outlets. Two types of fluorescent microspheres with different sizes were successfully separated using the developed device. In addition, E. coli bacteria pre-mixed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were also efficiently isolated using the SSAW-base separation technique. Flow cytometric analysis on the collected samples found that the purity of separated E. coli bacteria was 95.65%.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Escherichia coli, Acoustics, PBMC, Microphone, Transducers, Surface acoustic wave


To solve the problem that MEMS vector hydrophones are greatly interfered with by the vibration of the platform and flow noise in applications, this paper describes a differential MEMS vector hydrophone that could simultaneously receive acoustic signals and reject acceleration signals. Theoretical and simulation analyses have been carried out. Lastly, a prototype of the differential MEMS vector hydrophone has been created and tested using a standing wave tube and a vibration platform. The results of the test show that this hydrophone has a high sensitivity, Mv = -185 dB (@ 500 Hz, 0 dB reference 1 V/μPa), which is almost the same as the previous MEMS vector hydrophones, and has a low acceleration sensitivity, Mv = -58 dB (0 dB reference 1 V/g), which has decreased by 17 dB compared with the previous MEMS vector hydrophone. The differential MEMS vector hydrophone basically meets the requirements of acoustic vector detection when it is rigidly fixed to a working platform, which lays the foundation for engineering applications of MEMS vector hydrophones.

Concepts: Wave, Acceleration, Problem solving, Microphone, Sonar, Platform game, Acoustic signature, Hydrophone


Rapid localization of injured survivors by rescue teams to prevent death is a major issue. In this paper, a sensor system for human rescue including three different types of sensors, a CO₂ sensor, a thermal camera, and a microphone, is proposed. The performance of this system in detecting living victims under the rubble has been tested in a high-fidelity simulated disaster area. Results show that the CO₂ sensor is useful to effectively reduce the possible concerned area, while the thermal camera can confirm the correct position of the victim. Moreover, it is believed that the use of microphones in connection with other sensors would be of great benefit for the detection of casualties. In this work, an algorithm to recognize voices or suspected human noise under rubble has also been developed and tested.

Concepts: Sound, Transducer, Victim, Microphone, Frequency response, The Victim, ITU-R 468 noise weighting, High fidelity


Nanomechanical devices have attracted the interest of a growing interdisciplinary research community, since they can be used as highly sensitive transducers for various physical quantities. Exquisite control over these systems facilitates experiments on the foundations of physics. Here, we demonstrate that an optically trapped silicon nanorod, set into rotation at MHz frequencies, can be locked to an external clock, transducing the properties of the time standard to the rod’s motion with a remarkable frequency stability f r/Δf r of 7.7 × 10(11). While the dynamics of this periodically driven rotor generally can be chaotic, we derive and verify that stable limit cycles exist over a surprisingly wide parameter range. This robustness should enable, in principle, measurements of external torques with sensitivities better than 0.25 zNm, even at room temperature. We show that in a dilute gas, real-time phase measurements on the locked nanorod transduce pressure values with a sensitivity of 0.3%.

Concepts: Energy, Fundamental physics concepts, Physical quantities, Frequency, Hertz, Rotation, Microphone, Physical property


The use of electric fields for signalling and control in liquids is widespread, spanning bioelectric activity in cells to electrical manipulation of microstructures in lab-on-a-chip devices. However, an appropriate tool to resolve the spatio-temporal distribution of electric fields over a large dynamic range has yet to be developed. Here we present a label-free method to image local electric fields in real time and under ambient conditions. Our technique combines the unique gate-variable optical transitions of graphene with a critically coupled planar waveguide platform that enables highly sensitive detection of local electric fields with a voltage sensitivity of a few microvolts, a spatial resolution of tens of micrometres and a frequency response over tens of kilohertz. Our imaging platform enables parallel detection of electric fields over a large field of view and can be tailored to broad applications spanning lab-on-a-chip device engineering to analysis of bioelectric phenomena.

Concepts: Time, Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Optics, Optical fiber, Maxwell's equations, Electrical engineering, Microphone


Propagation patterns of animal acoustic signals provide insights into the evolution of signal design to convey signaler’s information to potential recipients. However, propagation properties of vertebrate calls have been rarely studied using natural calls from individuals; instead playback calls broadcast through loudspeakers have been used extensively, a procedure that may involve acoustical and physical features differing from natural sounds. Measurements of the transmission characteristics of natural advertisement calls, which are simple tonal sounds, of the Iberian midwife toad, Alytes cisternasii, were carried out, and the results were compared with previously published results broadcasting recorded calls of the same species. Measurements of sound pressure level (SPL) of calls from individual male A. cisternasii revealed that the call amplitude decreases at distances of 1-8 m from the source at rates averaging 1-5 dB above spherical transmission loss in an omni-directional pattern. A comparison between SPLs of natural calls in the current study and of playback calls from a previous study showed that patterns of propagation did not differ in average values, but variance was significantly higher for natural calls. Results suggest that using broadcast signals for transmission experiments may result in a simplification of the conditions in which actual animals communicate in nature.

Concepts: Acoustics, Average, Sound, Sound pressure, Microphone, Level, Broadcasting, Bioacoustics


We investigated the contribution of the middle ear to the physiological response to bone conduction stimuli in chinchilla. We measured intracochlear sound pressure in response to air conduction (AC) and bone conduction (BC) stimuli before and after interruption of the ossicular chain at the incudo-stapedial joint. Interruption of the chain effectively decouples the external and middle ear from the inner ear and significantly reduces the contributions of the outer ear and middle ear to the bone conduction response. With AC stimulation, both the scala vestibuli Psv and scala tympani Pst sound pressures drop by 30 to 40 dB after the interruption. In BC stimulation, Psv decreases after interruption by about 10 to 20 dB, but Pst is little affected. This difference in the sensitivity of the BC induced Psv and Pst to ossicular interruption is not consistent with a BC response to ossicular motion, but instead suggests a significant contribution of an inner-ear drive (e.g. cochlear fluid inertia or compressibility) to the BC response.

Concepts: Auditory system, Cochlea, Ear, Inner ear, Sound, Sound pressure, Scala vestibuli, Microphone


A three-dimensional finite element model is developed for the simulation of the sound transmission through the human auditory periphery consisting of the external ear canal, middle ear and cochlea. The cochlea is modelled as a straight duct divided into two fluid-filled scalae by the basilar membrane (BM) having an orthotropic material property with dimensional variation along its length. In particular, an active feed-forward mechanism is added into the passive cochlear model to represent the activity of the outer hair cells (OHCs). An iterative procedure is proposed for calculating the nonlinear response resulting from the active cochlea in the frequency domain. Results on the middle-ear transfer function, BM steady-state frequency response and intracochlear pressure are derived. A good match of the model predictions with experimental data from the literatures demonstrates the validity of the ear model for simulating sound pressure gain of middle ear, frequency to place map, cochlear sensitivity and compressive output for large intensity input. The current model featuring an active cochlea is able to correlate directly the sound stimulus in the ear canal with the vibration of BM and provides a tool to explore the mechanisms by which sound pressure in the ear canal is converted to a stimulus for the OHCs.

Concepts: Auditory system, Cochlea, Control theory, Ear, Inner ear, Sound, Ear canal, Microphone


Esophageal stethoscope is less invasive and easy to handling. And it gives a lot of information. The purpose of this study is to investigate the correlation of blood pressure and heart sound as measured by esophageal stethoscope. Four male beagles weighing 10 to 12 kg were selected as experimental subjects. After general anesthesia, the esophageal stethoscope was inserted. After connecting the microphone, the heart sounds were visualized and recorded through a self-developed equipment and program. The amplitudes of S1 and S2 were monitored real-time to examine changes as the blood pressure increased and decreased. The relationship between the ratios of S1 to S2 (S1/S2) and changes in blood pressure due to ephedrine was evaluated. The same experiment was performed with different concentration of isoflurane. From S1 and S2 in the inotropics experiment, a high correlation appeared with change in blood pressure in S1. The relationship between S1/S2 and change in blood pressure showed a positive correlation in each experimental subject. In the volatile anesthetics experiment, the heart sounds decreased as MAC increased. Heart sounds were analyzed successfully with the esophageal stethoscope through the self-developed program and equipment. A proportional change in heart sounds was confirmed when blood pressure was changed using inotropics or volatile anesthetics. The esophageal stethoscope can achieve the closest proximity to the heart to hear sounds in a non-invasive manner.

Concepts: Artery, Anesthesia, Change, Cardiac cycle, Heart sounds, Auscultation, Stethoscope, Microphone


Sleep apnea (SA) is a very common disease with serious health consequences, yet is very under-diagnosed, partially because of the high cost and limited accessibility of in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG). The purpose of this work is to introduce a newly developed portable system for the diagnosis of SA at home that is both reliable and easy to use. The system includes personal devices for recording breath sounds and airflow during sleep and diagnostic algorithms to process the recorded data. The data capturing device consists of a wearable face frame with an embedded electronic module featuring a unidirectional microphone, a differential microphone preamplifier, a microcontroller with an onboard differential analogue to digital converter, and a microSD memory card. The device provides continuous data capturing for 8 h. Upon completion of the recording session, the memory card is returned to a location for acoustic analysis. We recruited 49 subjects who used the device independently at home, after which each subject answered a usability questionnaire. Random data samples were selected to measure the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) as a gauge of hardware functionality. A subset of 11 subjects used the device on 2 different nights and their results were compared to examine diagnostic reproducibility. Independent of those, system’s performance was evaluated against PSG in the lab environment in 32 subject. The overall success rate of applying the device in un-attended settings was 94 % and the overall rating for ease-of-use was ‘excellent’. Signal examination showed excellent capturing of breath sounds with an average SNR of 31.7 dB. Nine of the 11 (82 %) subjects had equivalent results on both nights, which is consistent with reported inter-night variability. The system showed 96 % correlation with simultaneously performed in-lab PSG. Conclusion: Our results suggest excellent usability and performance of this system and provide a strong rationale to further improve it and test its robustness in a larger study.

Concepts: Sleep, Recording, Sleep apnea, Signal-to-noise ratio, Microphone, Analog-to-digital converter, MicroSD, Preamplifier