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Sensors 2014, 14(7), 13173-13185; doi:10.3390/s140713173
Article

Bio-Inspired Micro-Fluidic Angular-Rate Sensor for Vestibular Prostheses

* ,
 and
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Cyprus, Nicosia 1678, Cyprus
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implantable Sensors)
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Abstract

This paper presents an alternative approach for angular-rate sensing based on the way that the natural vestibular semicircular canals operate, whereby the inertial mass of a fluid is used to deform a sensing structure upon rotation. The presented gyro has been fabricated in a commercially available MEMS process, which allows for microfluidic channels to be implemented in etched glass layers, which sandwich a bulk-micromachined silicon substrate, containing the sensing structures. Measured results obtained from a proof-of-concept device indicate an angular rate sensitivity of less than 1 °/s, which is similar to that of the natural vestibular system. By avoiding the use of a continually-excited vibrating mass, as is practiced in today’s state-of-the-art gyroscopes, an ultra-low power consumption of 300 μW is obtained, thus making it suitable for implantation.
Keywords: vestibular prostheses; oscillopsia; inner-ear semi-circular canals; angular-rate sensor; implantable bio-sensors; gyroscope; inertial sensor; motion sensor; MEMS; microfluidics vestibular prostheses; oscillopsia; inner-ear semi-circular canals; angular-rate sensor; implantable bio-sensors; gyroscope; inertial sensor; motion sensor; MEMS; microfluidics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Andreou, C.M.; Pahitas, Y.; Georgiou, J. Bio-Inspired Micro-Fluidic Angular-Rate Sensor for Vestibular Prostheses. Sensors 2014, 14, 13173-13185.

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