Smart skin of self-powered hair cell flow sensors for sensing hydrodynamic flow phenomena

In nature, there exist numerous and diverse, highly sensitive and well-evolved biological hair cell sensors which work on the principles of mechanotransduction, serving various sensing needs. This work presents a flexible biomimetic smart skin of self-powered piezoelectric hair cell flow sensors capable of sensing underwater flow phenomena.

We developed a 2D array of 20 MEMS flow sensors arranged in a 4×5 pattern spanning a foot-print of 30mm×40mm. Experimental results demonstrate the ability of individual sensors to detect flow velocities as low as 8.24µm/s. The array is capable of determining the location, and distance of an underwater stimulus with an error below 1%.

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