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A Matlab/Simulink Model of the Inner Ear Angular Accelerometers Sensors

[+] Author Affiliations
Pierre Selva, Yves Gourinat, Joseph Morlier

Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France

Paper No. DETC2009-87166, pp. 241-246; 6 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: 22nd Biennial Conference on Mechanical Vibration and Noise, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, August 30–September 2, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4898-2 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3856-3
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


In order to keep tabs on the position and motion of our body in space, nature has given us a fascinating and very ingenious organ, the inner ear. Each inner ear includes five biological sensors — three angular and two linear accelerometers — which provide the body with the ability to sense angular and linear motion of the head with respect to inertial space. The aim of this paper is to present a mechanical model of the semicircular canals — which behave as angular accelerometers — in a specific kinematic environment. This model, implemented in Matlab/Simulink, simulates the rotary chair testing, which is one of the usual tests carried out during a diagnosis of the vestibular system. This model also allows to simulate several head rotations, and at the same time to show the state — excited or inhibited — of each angular sensors. Therefore, the developed model can be used as a learning and demonstrating tool either in the medicine field to understand the behavior of the sensors during any kind of motion or in the aeronautical field to relate the inner ear functioning to some sensory illusions. In addition, the first results also show the influence of the non-orthogonality of the canals on the sensors stimulation.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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