Research ArticleSENSORS

A highly sensitive, self-powered triboelectric auditory sensor for social robotics and hearing aids

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Science Robotics  25 Jul 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 20, eaat2516
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aat2516
  • Fig. 1 Structure and mechanism of the TAS.

    (A) Proposed image of triboelectric auditory system for a robot. (B) Basic structure scheme of the TAS. (C) Scanning electron microscopy image of the FEP surface. Scale bar, 1 μm. (D) Digital photograph of the acrylic-based device and the transparent device. Scale bar, 1 cm. (E) Cross-sectional scheme of the working components. (F) Vibration patterns of Kapton film under different frequencies (simulated using COMSOL under sound pressure of 5 Pa). (G) Schematic charge distribution during the film vibration.

  • Fig. 2 Characterization of acoustic response performance of the TAS with different geometric designs and their practical applications.

    (A) Schematic illustration of TAS with various geometric designs. (B) Voltage signal measured from a TAS (gap distance, 0.2 mm; sweeping frequency range, 100 to 5000 Hz; sound intensity, 100 dBSPL). The frequency spectrum of TAS derived through Fourier transform (device gap distance, 0.2 mm) when varying (C) diameter and (D) thickness of the Kapton membrane. (E) The acoustic response of a TAS (D = 15 mm, d = 75 μm) under various sound intensities. Inset: Acoustic response difference between the noise and specific sound signal (around 60 dB). (F) Shape-dependent directional patterns of the TAS (D = 15 mm, d = 75 μm). (G) Electronic module used for potential application demonstration. (H) Demonstration of TAS as a sensitive sound switch control. (I) Demonstration of a transparent TAS for an antitheft system.

  • Fig. 3 Inner boundary architecture design for frequency response–tunable TAS.

    (A) Schematic illustrations and photographs of the annular membrane (top) and circular membrane with annular boundary (bottom). (B) Voltage signal measured from the annular membrane–based device (D1 = 35 mm; D2 = 17.5 mm; sweeping frequency range, 100 to 5000 Hz; sound intensity, 100 dBSPL). (C) Frequency spectra of the annular TAS with various inner diameters. (D) Comparison of voltage signal output for a circular membrane device with/without annular boundary architecture. (E) Frequency spectra of TAS with different annular inner boundary. (F) Schematic illustrations and photographs of the sectorial membrane (top) and circular membrane with sectorial boundary (bottom). (G) Voltage signal measured from the sectorial membrane–based device (D1 = 35 mm; α = 120°; sweeping frequency range, 100 to 5000 Hz; sound intensity, 100 dBSPL). (H) Frequency spectra of the sectorial TAS with various central angles. (I) Comparison of voltage signal output for circular membrane device with/without sectorial boundary architecture. (J) Frequency spectrum of the TAS with four sectorial boundaries.

  • Fig. 4 Application of the TAS for imitating an auditory system.

    (A) Application of TAS for music recording. (B) Original music wave and recorded sound wave information. (C) Corresponding music and recorded sound spectrograms. (D) Voices recorded from two people saying “Hello.” (E) Power spectral and voice spectrogram of the recorded voices for identification. (F) Demonstration of the TAS-based voice recognition system.

  • Fig. 5 Medical application of TAS in hearing aids.

    (A) Proposed medical application of TAS in hearing aids to allow a hearing-impaired person to fully hear music. Inset: The TAS-based sound receiver can be worn as ear stud. (B) Traditional signal processing of a commercial hearing aid. (C) Signal processing of TAS-based hearing aid. TAS is capable of magnifying the specific frequency region. (D) Frequency spectrum of a TAS-based hearing aid. The sound response can be magnified 8.8 times for specific frequency band (as marked in the figure) by using a TAS. (E) Sound waves and corresponding acoustic spectrograms of normal, weakened, and restored voices. The corresponding frequency bands are marked by green dash lines.

Supplementary Materials

  • robotics.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/3/20/eaat2516/DC1

    Supplementary Text

    Note S1. Theoretical analysis of the circular membrane.

    Note S2. Theoretical analysis of the annular membrane.

    Note S3. Theoretical analysis of the sectorial membrane.

    Note S4. Effect of resonant cavity on the membrane vibration.

    Table. S1. Sound type and corresponding frequency range.

    Table. S2. Levels of hearing loss.

    Fig. S1. Vibration patterns of circular membrane.

    Fig. S2. Potential distribution of TAS.

    Fig. S3. Influence of diameter on the frequency spectrum of TAS.

    Fig. S4. Influence of thickness on the frequency spectrum of TAS.

    Fig. S5. Long-term stability test of TAS.

    Fig. S6. Displacement measurement of the membrane.

    Fig. S7. Output when miniaturizing the TAS.

    Fig. S8. Signal process of the sound switch control electric loop.

    Fig. S9. Vibration patterns of annular membrane.

    Fig. S10. Finite element analysis of the membrane with annular boundary.

    Fig. S11. Vibration patterns of sectorial membrane.

    Fig. S12. Finite element analysis of the membrane with sectorial boundary.

    Fig. S13. Schematic illustration of the inner boundary structure.

    Fig. S14. Effect of single-hole Helmholtz resonator on the frequency response of TAS.

    Fig. S15. Effect of multihole Helmholtz resonator on the frequency response of TAS.

    Movie S1. TAS as a sensitive sound switch control.

    Movie S2. Transparent TAS for antitheft system.

    Movie S3. TAS-based high-quantity electronic hearing system.

    Movie S4. TAS-based voice recognition system.

    Movie S5. TAS-based new type of hearing aid system.

  • Supplementary Materials

    The PDF file includes:

    • Supplementary Text
    • Note S1. Theoretical analysis of the circular membrane.
    • Note S2. Theoretical analysis of the annular membrane.
    • Note S3. Theoretical analysis of the sectorial membrane.
    • Note S4. Effect of resonant cavity on the membrane vibration.
    • Table. S1. Sound type and corresponding frequency range.
    • Table. S2. Levels of hearing loss.
    • Fig. S1. Vibration patterns of circular membrane.
    • Fig. S2. Potential distribution of TAS.
    • Fig. S3. Influence of diameter on the frequency spectrum of TAS.
    • Fig. S4. Influence of thickness on the frequency spectrum of TAS.
    • Fig. S5. Long-term stability test of TAS.
    • Fig. S6. Displacement measurement of the membrane.
    • Fig. S7. Output when miniaturizing the TAS.
    • Fig. S8. Signal process of the sound switch control electric loop.
    • Fig. S9. Vibration patterns of annular membrane.
    • Fig. S10. Finite element analysis of the membrane with annular boundary.
    • Fig. S11. Vibration patterns of sectorial membrane.
    • Fig. S12. Finite element analysis of the membrane with sectorial boundary.
    • Fig. S13. Schematic illustration of the inner boundary structure.
    • Fig. S14. Effect of single-hole Helmholtz resonator on the frequency response of TAS.
    • Fig. S15. Effect of multihole Helmholtz resonator on the frequency response of TAS.

    Download PDF

    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    • Movie S1 (.avi format). TAS as a sensitive sound switch control.
    • Movie S2 (.avi format). Transparent TAS for antitheft system.
    • Movie S3 (.avi format). TAS-based high-quantity electronic hearing system.
    • Movie S4 (.avi format). TAS-based voice recognition system.
    • Movie S5 (.avi format). TAS-based new type of hearing aid system.

    Files in this Data Supplement:

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