Echolocation is a powerful technique that uses sound or ultrasound waves to locate objects and surfaces. Ships and submarines, for example, use it to avoid collisions, and dolphins and microbats use it to locate prey.
Dolphins use echolocation to locate prey and navigate. Researchers have harnessed the same principle to determine the inclination of millimeter-sized ultrasonic sensors.
© Dorling Kindersley RF/Thinkstock
Hongbin Yu and co-workers from the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics, Singapore, have now used echolocation to measure the inclination of millimeter-sized ultrasonic sensors. In this new setting, their technique should extend the capabilities of devices that already use ultrasonic components, whether for locating defects in materials, visualizing anatomical structures or determining range.Yu and his co-workers built on the success that so-called ‘capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers’ (CMUTs) have achieved over the past decade in generating and detecting ultrasound signals. These devices are fabricated using silicon micromachining technology, so the components are very compact and can be conveniently integrated with standard electronics components, which are also based on silicon.
Yu, H., Guo, B., Haridas, K., Lin, T.-H., Cheong, J. H. et al. Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer based tilt sensing. Applied Physics Letters 101, 153502 (2012).
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