While sensing technologies for structural monitoring applications have made significant advances over the last several decades, there is still room for improvement in terms of computational efficiency, as well as overall energy consumption. The biological nervous system can offer a potential solution to address these current deficiencies. The nervous system is capable of sensing and aggregating information about the external environment through very crude processing units known as neurons. Neurons effectively communicate in an extremely condensed format by encoding information into binary electrical spike trains, thereby reducing the amount of raw information sent throughout a neural network. Due to its unique signal processing capabilities, the mammalian cochlea and its interaction with the biological nervous system is of particular interest for devising compressive sensing strategies for dynamic engineered systems. The cochlea uses a novel method of place theory and frequency decomposition, thereby allowing for rapid signal processing within the nervous system. In this study, a low-power sensing node is proposed that draws inspiration from the mechanisms employed by the cochlea and the biological nervous system. As such, the sensor is able to perceive and transmit a compressed representation of the external stimulus with minimal distortion. Each sensor represents a basic building block, with function similar to the neuron, and can form a network with other sensors, thus enabling a system that can convey input stimulus in an extremely condensed format. The proposed sensor is validated through a structural monitoring application of a single degree of freedom structure excited by seismic ground motion.