Researchers have developed a tiny eardrum, which is a trillion times smaller than a human one, with “cat-like” sensitivity.
As the communications needs of the world continue to evolve with our gadgets, this new mechanical eardrum promises to outpace even the good old human ear when it comes to accuracy, as shown by a new research paper published in Science Advances.
Made possible through recent advances, the researchers behind the paper have come up with atomic-level eardrums which are (obviously) not only much smaller than a natural eardrum but also provides unprecedented accuracy. The paper was written by the researchers at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
The device is 10,000,000,000,000 times smaller than a human eardrum, being 100,000 times thinner in size. The sensitivity level is a lot higher too, detecting frequencies of up to 120MHz at a range of 110dB.
“Sensing and communication are key to a connected world,” said Philip Feng, associate professor of electrical engineering/computer science and co-author of the paper
In recent decades, we have been connected with highly miniaturized devices and systems, and we have been pursuing ever-shrinking sizes for those devices.
The transducer itself is the only piece of the puzzle remaining, as one which can handle data reliably at both extremes of detection levels hasn’t been developed yet.
Power requirements are also another major factor in favor here, with requirements between just a picoWatt and a nanoWatt per drumhead. Expectedly, they are also said to be “very quiet devices”.
Applications of the drumhead include low-energy communication devices as well as devices which need high accuracy and tuning range.