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Open AccessArticle

Artificial Cochlear Sensory Epithelium with Functions of Outer Hair Cells Mimicked Using Feedback Electrical Stimuli

Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-8531, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2018, 9(6), 273;
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 24 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
PDF [3934 KB, uploaded 30 May 2018]


We report a novel vibration control technique of an artificial auditory cochlear epithelium that mimics the function of outer hair cells in the organ of Corti. The proposed piezoelectric and trapezoidal membrane not only has the acoustic/electric conversion and frequency selectivity of the previous device developed mainly by one of the authors and colleagues, but also has a function to control local vibration according to sound stimuli. Vibration control is achieved by applying local electrical stimuli to patterned electrodes on an epithelium made using micro-electro-mechanical system technology. By choosing appropriate phase differences between sound and electrical stimuli, it is shown that it is possible to both amplify and dampen membrane vibration, realizing better control of the response of the artificial cochlea. To be more specific, amplification and damping are achieved when the phase difference between the membrane vibration by sound stimuli and electrical stimuli is zero and π , respectively. We also demonstrate that the developed control system responds automatically to a change in sound frequency. The proposed technique can be applied to mimic the nonlinear response of the outer hair cells in a cochlea, and to realize a high-quality human auditory system. View Full-Text
Keywords: artificial cochlea; MEMS; piezoelectric material; outer hair cell artificial cochlea; MEMS; piezoelectric material; outer hair cell

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Tsuji, T.; Nakayama, A.; Yamazaki, H.; Kawano, S. Artificial Cochlear Sensory Epithelium with Functions of Outer Hair Cells Mimicked Using Feedback Electrical Stimuli. Micromachines 2018, 9, 273.

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