The Silicon Cochlea: From Biology to Bionics – Rahul Sarpeshkar (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

April 23, 2002 all-day

The silicon cochlea implements the biophysics of the human cochlea on an analog electronic chip. I shall demonstrate the operation of a 61dB, 0.5mW analog VLSI silicon cochlea. An engineering analysis of this cochlea suggests why the ear is designed as a distributed traveling wave amplifier rather than as a bank of bandpass filters: Such an architecture is a very efficient way of implementing a high resolution, high filter order, wide dynamic range frequency analyzer. I shall outline work on constructing low-power cochlear-implant processors that are based on circuits in the silicon cochlea as well as work on constructing a distributed-gain-control silicon-cochlea-based cochlear-implant processor. These processors have promise for cutting power dissipation by more than an order of magnitude in today’s implant processors and for improving patient performance in noise.

Center for Language and Speech Processing