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From hearing towards listening: A bioinspired autonomous feedback control Hopf hearing system.

English title From hearing towards listening: A bioinspired autonomous feedback control Hopf hearing system.
Applicant Stoop Rudolf
Number 122276
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut für Neuroinformatik Universität Zürich Irchel und ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Information Technology
Start/End 01.01.2009 - 31.12.2010
Approved amount 198'106.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Information Technology

Keywords (8)

nonlinear dynamics; biophysics; cochlea modeling; neutral network; theoretical computation; neural networks; statistical physics of biocomputation; electronic sensoring

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Nature often hosts stunning solutions to technological problems, increasingly transferred into the modern world by the field of bionics. The mammalian hearing systems' task is to characterize, identify, and trace the sound sources present in the acoustic environment. The hearing sensor, the cochlea, plays a central role in accomplishing these tasks. It not only serves as an exquisite sensor, but also performs significant information processing, that in other sensory domains is achieved on the neuronal level only. A crucial element of this signal processing is the nonlinear active Hopf-type amplification located in the outer hair cells (OHC) of the cochlea. Recently, we have constructed an electronic Hopf cochlea, and shown that it reproduces the physiological response of the mammalian cochlea to apreviously unachieved precision. In this project, we use this device to better understand how the mammalian hearing sensor works together with the rest of the auditory system, into which it is embedded via the auditory feedback loop. We investigate, in a multi-object auditory environment, to what extent an intelligent tuning of the cochlea can lead a listener from simple hearing to dedicated, attentional, listening. We achieve this selective extraction of the objects by means of neural networks, sparse signal representation and clustering of the cochlear output. The tuning is realized, just as in the mammalian cochlea, by efferent connections to the cochlear amplifiers. They control in a highly nonlinear fashion the signal amplification at the different frequency channels. Applications of this research possibly reach from hearing aids and cochlea implants to speech recognizers, cellular phones and auditory manufacturing monitoring.For further information, see .
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
132881 Nonlinear dynamics origins of psychoacoustics from the Hopf amplifier concept 01.01.2011 Project funding