A Biologically Inspired Front End for Audio Signal Processing Using Programmable Analog Circuitry
Graham, David W.
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This research focuses on biologically inspired audio signal processing using programmable analog circuitry. This research is inspired by the biology of the human cochlea since biology far outperforms any engineered system at converting audio signals into meaningful electrical signals. The human cochlea efficiently decomposes any sound into the respective frequency components by harnessing the resonance nature of the basilar membrane, essentially forming a bank of bandpass filters. In a similar fashion, this work revolves around developing a filter bank composed of continuous-time, low-power, analog bandpass filters that serve as the core front end to this silicon audio-processing system. Like biology, the individual bandpass filters are tuned to have narrow bandwidths, moderate amounts of resonance, and exponentially spaced center frequencies. This audio front end serves to efficiently convert incoming sounds into information useful to subsequent signal-processing elements, and it does so by performing a frequency decomposition of the waveform with extremely low-power consumption and real-time operation. To overcome mismatch and offsets inherent in CMOS processes, floating-gate transistors are used to precisely tune the time constants in the filters and to allow programmability of analog components.