Hydrogel-Encapsulated Microfabricated Haircells Mimicking Fish Cupula Neuromast


  • Authors thank Prof. S. Coombs (Bowling Green State University) and Prof. F. Barth (University of Vienna) for help with the manuscript. This research is funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and has been partially completed at Iowa State University.


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A hydrogel-capped hair-cell flow microsensor, which closely mimics a superficial neuromast of a fish, is introduced. By encapsulating the hair sensor into the artificial hydrogel cupula a dramatic increase in hair-sensor sensitivity to the oscillating and the steady flow is achieved. It opens the way toward the remote monitoring of the underwater environment by autonomous, unmanned microvehicles with self-navigating capability.