Hydrogel-encapsulated microfabricated haircells mimicking fish cupula neuromast

Sergiy Peleshanko*, Michael D. Julian, Maryna Ornatska, Michael E. McConney, Melbourne C. LeMieux, Nannan Chen, Craig Tucker, Yingchen Yang, Chang Liu, Joseph A C Humphrey, Vladimir V. Tsukruk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


A combined, hybrid soft-hard material design of a hair flow microsensor, which closely mimics the superficial neuromast of a blind cave fish with its superior ability to navigate blindly in a hydrodynamically complex underwater environment was introduced. The glycoprotein cupula couple the arrays of hairs to the surrounding environment maximizing and mediating drag forces along a moving body. A combination of haircell sensor with a hydrogel cupula grown by wet-chemistry micropatterned photopolymerization creates an integrated hair-cupula sensor with superior flow detection ability comparable with blind fish. This symbiotic technology is expected to enable the self-navigating ability of autonomous underwater vehicles. The enhanced protection afforded by the hydrogel encapsulated hair flow sensors should enhance their ability to withstand high elastic deformation due to impact as well as provide anticorrosive and antibiofouling properties to better withstand the marine environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2903-2909
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 5 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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