Engineers Develop Wearable Microphone Based on New MEMS Technology –

Researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) have developed a wearable acoustic sensor that has a wider auditory field than human ears. Traditional MEMS-based microphones utilized in smartphones, Bluetooth devices, and other gadgets are typically outfitted with complex diaphragms made from inflexible, brittle silicon. This makes it difficult to bend the diaphragm as desired, which can interfere with the sound detection ability of those devices.

A closer look at the skin-attachable acoustic sensor. (📷: POSTECH)

The engineers overcame that issue by creating a MEMS-based microphone structure that uses polymer materials that are more flexible than silicon and can be designed in any shape. The auditory sensor is smaller than a fingernail and only a few hundred micrometers thick. What’s more, it can be attached to large surface areas of the body or even on the finger without being damaged.

Comparative graph of sound detection. (📷: POSTECH)

According to the team, the auditory sensitivity of the microphone is higher than what human ears can perceive and can recognize the surrounding sounds and voice of the user without distortion. Moreover, it can detect loud sounds over 85 decibels, enough to cause damage to the eardrum and low-frequency sounds that humans can’t hear. That said, the auditory electronic sensor has a wide range of applications, including wearable voice recognition devices, IoT voice interaction, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), and more.



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