Passive wireless MEMS microphones for biomedical applications

A. S. Sezen, S. Sivaramakrishnan, S. Hur, R. Rajamani, W. Robbins, B. J. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This paper introduces passive wireless telemetry based operation for high frequency acoustic sensors. The focus is on the development, fabrication, and evaluation of wireless, batteryless SAW-IDT MEMS microphones for biomedical applications. Due to the absence of batteries, the developed sensors are small and as a result of the batch manufacturing strategy are inexpensive which enables their utilization as disposable sensors. A pulse modulated surface acoustic wave interdigital transducer (SAW-IDT) based sensing strategy has been formulated. The sensing strategy relies on detecting the ac component of the acoustic pressure signal only and does not require calibration. The proposed sensing strategy has been successfully implemented on an in-house fabricated SAW-IDT sensor and a variable capacitor which mimics the impedance change of a capacitive microphone. Wireless telemetry distances of up to 5 centimeters have been achieved. A silicon MEMS microphone which will be used with the SAW-IDT device is being microfabricated and tested. The complete passive wireless sensor package will include the MEMS microphone wire-bonded on the SAW substrate and interrogated through an on-board antenna. This work on acoustic sensors breaks new ground by introducing high frequency (i.e., audio frequencies) sensor measurement utilizing SAW-IDT sensors. The developed sensors can be used for wireless monitoring of body sounds in a number of different applications, including monitoring breathing sounds in apnea patients, monitoring chest sounds after cardiac surgery, and for feedback sensing in compression (HFCC) vests used for respiratory ventilation. Another promising application is monitoring chest sounds in neonatal care units where the miniature sensors will minimize discomfort for the newborns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1030-1034
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


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