The hair cells in the cochlea are responsible for transforming sound-induced vibration into electrical signals. Damage to these hair cells is among the most common forms of hearing loss in the developed world. Researchers have studied various artificial hair cell (AHC) designs for replacing these hair cells. One such method uses piezoelectric beams to mimic the hair cell’s mechanoelectrical transduction. A piezoelectric beam will produce an electric potential from an applied sound pressure. In the literature, the response of the cochlea to sound pressures is often described using tuning curves. Tuning curves plot the sound pressure level at a given frequency which produces a particular displacement, velocity, or neuron firing rate. The work presented here examines using piezoelectric AHC’s to mimic cochlear hair cells by creating tuning curves of constant tip velocity and voltage. A piezoceramic (PZT) beam and a piezo film (PVDF) bending sensor are examined. An output feedback controller based on PID control is developed to vary the sound pressure from a speaker to create tuning curves for the piezoelectric AHC’s. The tuning curves for the piezoelectric beams are compared to measurements obtained from the biological cochlea.

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