Faculty Advisor

Cosme Furlong




The conventional methods for diagnosing pathological conditions of the tympanic membrane (TM) and other abnormalities require measuring its motion to an acoustic excitation for its use in a clinical environment. To obtain comprehensive quantitative diagnostic information from the motion of the entire surface of the TM, it is necessary to devise an integrated system capable of accurately recording the motion and induce an acoustic stimulus. To accomplish this goal, a sound presentation system (SPS) capable of impinging acoustic stimulus in the frequency range of 20Hz to 8 kHz at known amplitudes is synthesized in this thesis. This system is then integrated with optoelectronic digital holographic system (OEDHO) which utilizes laser interferometry to record and reconstruct phase shifted images with the help of a digital camera. The OEDHO is capable of accurately recording nanometer scale motion of the TM. The preliminary design of the SPS depends on the physical dimensions of the human ear, such as the diameter of the TM (6-9mm), depth of the ear canal (about 30mm), and also dimensions of the OEDHO system such as: diameter of tip of the otoscope head for optical access (8mm), and possible locations for integration with the OEDHO. The characteristics of the system are based on the intensity of the acoustic stimulus necessary to vibrate the TM (90-110dB SPL), and method of impinging the stimulus. To accomplish this goal, the nature of sound wave propagation through a circular pipe with known dimensions is analyzed analytically, experimentally, and by using finite element analysis (FEA). The pipe is further investigated for optimum parameters using FEA by introducing changes in the diameter (3.8mm, 6mm, 10mm), length of the pipe (30mm, 60mm, 90mm), radius of the curvature (50mm, 75mm, 100mm), and strength of the sound power source (0.2W, 0.4W, 0.6W). The comparative results provide guidelines for the design of the first version of the SPS (SPS_V1). The SPS_V1 consists of a symmetric design to impinge the acoustic stimulus towards the TM and a microphone to measure the sound pressure at the TM. The system is capable of housing a range of speakers from 2mm to 15mm in diameter. The SPS_V1 can directly interface with the standard medical speculums used for human ear testing. Also, the system is capable of interfacing with all available versions of the OEDHO. The SPS_V1 is currently being evaluated in a medical-research environment to address basic otological questions regarding TM function. The performance characterization of the system inside an artificial ear canal with two different speaker configurations is herein shown, and the potential improvements and utilization are discussed


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





COMSOL, Tympanic membrane, otoscope