AUSTIN, TX, United States
AUSTIN, TX, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.87K | Year: 2016

The Groundbased Nuclear Detonation Detection Research and Development office seeks advanced technology for the monitoring of explosion events using infrasonic signatures. Silicon Audio, Inc. and The University of Texas at Austin are working together to develop a microelectromechanicalsystem (MEMS) based piezoelectric infrasonicsensor technology. The sensor aims to exceed all of the threshold specifications provided in the solicitation. Phase I focused on the development of a lowcost, robust, and ultralownoise transducer. The lowcost feature makes large discrete sensor arrays feasible, in which pressure sensing nodes are spread over hundreds of meters. In Phase II, we focus on three thrusts: (i) further improve the MEMS sensing structure, (ii) realize fully functional analogsensor nodes, and (iii) realize a deployable array by integrating an analogtodigital converter (ADC) to create a digital sensor and acquisition system. In addition to providing infrasound data, the digital sensing elements will be able to communicate selfhealth indicators and perform selfcalibration assessment of both frequency and phase response insitu. This third system integration thrust is motivated by our conversations with expert users that have taken place in Phase I, and also by National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)’s emphasis on calibration and selfhealth sensor monitoring per the original solicitation. Above all, users of infrasound equipment value assurance that collected data is legitimate and valid – owing to the expense and effort expended to collect and process data. The vision for Phase II as captured by the three thrusts is to realize a modern, smart sensor system. The developed technology will be modular, and applicable to smallarray and largearray systems. A PhaseII goal is to make the sensors highly portable and deployable in any terrain without the encumbrance of rigid pipes or even wires in the case of wireless telemetry systems.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

The Ground-based Nuclear Detonation Detection Research and Development office seeks advanced technology for the monitoring of explosion events using infrasonic signatures. In this STTR, Silicon Audio, Inc. and The University of Texas at Austin will team together to develop an advanced microelectromechanical-system MEMS) based piezoelectric infrasonic-sensor technology. The sensor will aim to exceed all of the threshold specifications important for explosion and treaty-monitoring applications, while at the same time focusing on robustness against wind noise so that ultimately a compact sensor system may be realized. The developed sensor will be ideal for large distributed arrays, which have potential advantages in some scenarios including ease of installation, portability, and versatility with respect to enabling innovative data-processing. In Phase I, we aim to develop a micromachined piezoelectric transducer node that has ultra-low noise, below 10-8 Pa2/Hz noise spectral density across the majority of the 0.01 10-Hz monitoring bandwidth. Highlights of the sensor construction include a unique wafer-bonding construction, and the integration of a mechanical-acoustical band-limiting filter prior to transduction. In Phase II, we aim to develop a digital version of the sensor node to interface with a telemetry system for a large-array demonstration. The commercial feasibility of a sound-intensity digital-sensor node will also be investigated in Phase II. The proposed sensor development aims to make a contribution to the field of infrasonic monitoring by making commercially available an ultra-low-noise sensor element. The dominant benefit of the proposed work is increased public safety that results from accurately monitoring explosions and gathering intelligence regarding rogue testing activities. The sensor development will also benefit scientific applications, including the study of volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and various atmospheric phenomena.


Patent
Silicon Audio, Llc and Board Of Regents Of The University Of Texas System | Date: 2016-07-15

Embodiments of solid-state stress sensors are presented herein. A sensor system may include a substrate, a first layer of sensing material disposed on a first surface of the substrate, and at least three electrodes forming a first and second electrode pair. The at least three electrodes may include a first electrode, a second electrode, and a third electrode. The first electrode may be disposed in a first plane and the second electrode and the third electrode may be disposed in a second plane, the first and second planes associated with a first direction parallel to the first surface. The first and second electrodes may be at least partially offset in the first direction. The first and third electrodes may be at least partially offset in the first direction. The sensor system may be configured to generate an output signal in response to a shear stress within the sensing material.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT: The principal thrust of the proposed research is the development and testing of a high-speed (MHz range) sensor for measuring the shear stress beneath a hypersonic boundary layer at elevated temperatures. The development of such a sensor will enable the Air-Force to develop more robust empirical models for predicting the wall shear stress in complex 3-D flows. The proposed sensor innovation uses high temperature ferroelectric materials to measure pressure and shear stress across two dimensions. This approach leverages micromachining (i.e., MEMS) processing techniques and aims to achieve all critical Air Force specifications including broadband response to 1-MHz frequencies at high operating temperatures (up to 1,200 K). Testing will be performed using aerodynamic facilities at The University of Texas at Austin. BENEFIT: There is presently a lack of sensors capable of directly measuring shear under the extreme flow conditions encountered in advanced vehicles like the HIFiRE, X-51. The proposed innovation aims to alleviate this void in the form of a compact, robust, broadband shear sensor. The application pool is broad and encompasses the development of advanced weaponry, supersonic combustion, or simply innovative diagnostic tools for test facilities like AEDC.


Patent
Silicon Audio, Llc | Date: 2015-01-23

In some embodiments, a sensor system may include a deformable structure and a sensing element. The deformable structure may include at least one layer of piezoelectric material and at least one actuator port disposed on the at least one layer of piezoelectric material. The deformable structure may deform in response to external phenomenon. The at least one actuator port may be configured to actuate the at least one layer of piezoelectric material via application of an electrical signal to the at least one layer of piezoelectric material. The at least one layer of piezoelectric material may be configured to apply a force to the deformable structure when actuated. The sensing element may be configured to sense deformation of the deformable structure capacitively, optically, or via a sensing port according to embodiments.


Patent
Silicon Audio, Llc | Date: 2015-01-23

In some embodiments, a sensor system may include a deformable structure and a sensing element. The deformable structure may include at least one layer of piezoelectric material and at least one actuator port disposed on the at least one layer of piezoelectric material. The deformable structure may deform in response to external phenomenon. The at least one actuator port may be configured to actuate the at least one layer of piezoelectric material via application of an electrical signal to the at least one layer of piezoelectric material. The at least one layer of piezoelectric material may be configured to apply a force to the deformable structure when actuated. The sensing element may be configured to sense deformation of the deformable structure capacitively, optically, or via a sensing port according to embodiments.


Patent
Silicon Audio, Llc | Date: 2016-06-14

In some embodiments, a microphone system may include a deformable element that may be made of a material that is subject to deformation in response to external phenomenon. Sensing ports may be in contact with a respective region of the deformable element and may be configured to sense a deformation of a region of the deformable element and generate a signal in response thereto. The plurality of signals may be useable to determine spatial dependencies of the external phenomenon. The external phenomenon may be pressure and the signals may be useable to determine spatial dependencies of the pressure.


Patent
Silicon Audio, Llc | Date: 2016-07-15

Various embodiments of solid-state shear-stress sensors are presented. Some embodiments of a sensor system may include a substrate, a first layer of sensing material disposed on a first surface of the substrate, and at least two electrodes forming an electrode pair. The at least two electrodes may include a first electrode and a second electrode. The first electrode may be disposed in a first plane and the second electrode may be disposed in a second plane. The first and second planes may be associated with a first direction and may be substantially parallel to one another and the first surface. The first and second electrodes may be at least partially offset in the first direction. The sensor system may be configured to generate an output signal in response to a shear stress within the sensing material.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.83K | Year: 2014

Project Summary We aim to introduce to the hearing-assistive device industry the first commercialized microphone that combines all three axes of acoustic pressure gradient onto a single silicon chip. We expect the technology to empower the signal-processing community with a new tool which, when used in conjunction with a conventional omnidirectional microphone, will facilitate new features like ultra-sharp directionality adaptable in real-time by the user and/or artificial intelligence algorithms which scanfor desired inputs while filtering out unwanted noise. Directional sensing and the ability to filter out undesirable background acoustic noise are important for those with hearing impairments. Hearing impairment is associated with a loss of fidelity to quiet sounds, while the threshold of pain remains the same. As such, hearing impairment causes a loss of dynamic range or window of detectable sound amplitudes. Directional sensing enables preferentially amplifying desired sounds without amplifying backgr


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.98K | Year: 2015

Project Summary We aim to introduce to the hearing assistive device industry directional microphones with high signal to noise ratio and the first commercialized microphone that combines all three axes of acoustic pressure gradient onto a single silicon chip We expect the technology to empower the signal processing community with a new tool which when used in conjunction with a conventional omnidirectional microphone will facilitate new features like ultra sharp directionality adaptable in real time by the user and or artificial intelligence algorithms which scan for desired inputs while filtering out unwanted noise Directional sensing and the ability to filter out undesirable background acoustic noise are important for those with hearing impairments Hearing impairment is associated with a loss of fidelity to quiet sounds while the threshold of pain remains the same As such hearing impairment causes a loss of dynamic range or window of detectable sound amplitudes Directional sensing enables preferentially amplifying desired sounds without amplifying background noise As the first step we aim to accelerate the commercialization of recently introduced biologically inspired rocking style microphones by synthesizing these designs with integrated robust piezoelectric readout which is ideal for addressing the low power small size and high levels of integration required of the hearing aid industry Previous work in this field using laboratory prototypes and optical readout have demonstrated the merits of the biologically inspired sensing approach i e a simultaneous dB SNR improvement and x reduction size improvement beyond what is achievable with present day hearing aid or MEMS microphones By synthesizing a piezoelectric embodiment as an alternative to optical readout we aim to accelerate through many of the commercialization challenges so that an impact to the hearing device industry can be made Further the proposed readout is better adapted towards integrating multiple microphones in the same silicon chip We aim to integrate a microphone with both in plane axis of directivity with an out of plane directional design to form a complete axis pressure gradient sensor Project Narrative Studies show that today of Americans wear a hearing aid whereas at least of Americans could benefit from a hearing assistive device The major reason for this gap is patient dissatisfaction Hearing aid wearers suffer from what is known as the cocktail party effect When the gain is turned up to hear the person speaking across from you noises in the background are equally amplified making every scenario sound like a cocktail party This research aims to make a positive long term improvement to hearing aid patient satisfaction by making commercially available directional microphones with high fidelity

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