Suma Anand

MIT EECS Quick Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Aude Oliva
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Areas of Research: Vision
Years: 2016-2017

Echolocation: Modeling, simulating, and fabricating biomimetic ultrasound receivers

This project concerns the development of a mobile sonar unit that uses ultrasound to sample the environment for blind and visually impaired users. Currently the device enables users to distinguish object location along a horizontal plane (azimuth) using binaural stereo cues; however the device does not offer the spectral cues that provide elevation information. The goal of this SuperUROP is to design simulate fabricate and test an ear-like external receiver assembly that will spatially filter incoming signals to provide these cues. In addition to re-mapping frequency to elevation the receivers would take advantage of the natural filtering abilities of the pinna. The receivers will be designed iteratively through a simulation and optimization process prior to fabrication.

I've always been interested in the intersection of neuroscience and engineering. My research experience in fMRI labs opened my eyes to the complexity of the brain. This project not only has the potential to be developed into a user-ready aid but can also provide new insights into auditory perception. I'm excited to work with a wide range of people including the blind community to break new ground in neuroengineering.