MIN Faculty
Department of Informatics
Knowledge Technology


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MiCRAM Project

Midbrain Computational and Robotic Auditory Model for focused hearing MiCRAM)

University of Sunderland—Dr. H. R. Erwin

University of Hamburg—Prof. S. Wermter

University of Newcastle—Dr. A. Rees, School of Neurology, Neurobiology & Psychiatry


This research is a collaborative interdisciplinary EPSRC project to be performed between the University of Newcastle, School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry and the University of Sunderland, Centre for Hybrid Intelligent Systems, School of Computing and Technology and the University of Hamburg, Knowledge Technology. The overall aim is to study sound processing in the mammalian brain and to build a biomimetic robot to validate and test the neuroscience models for focused hearing.

We collaboratively develop a biologically plausible computational model of auditory processing at the level of the inferior colliculus (IC). This approach will potentially clarify the roles of the multiple spectral and temporal representations that are present at the level of the IC and investigate how representations of sounds interact with auditory processing at that level to focus attention and select sound sources for robot models of focused hearing .

Aims and Objectives

This research will have four primary objectives:

  1. to build a biologically realistic computational model of sound processing in the auditory midbrain (inferior colliculus). The model should be capable of generating auditory-guided behaviour in a biomimetic robot operating in a sound cluttered environment.
  2. to test the hypothesis that the operation of a biologically realistic neuronal model will generate emergent information that provides new insights into the brain mechanisms of auditory processing.
  3. to validate and refine our auditory model by testing the emergent hypotheses it generates about the organisation and function of the auditory midbrain. This will be achieved by recording the sound driven responses of neurons in the inferior colliculus of the anaesthetised guinea pig.