Course: BIOEN 317: Biomedical Signals and Sensors Laboratory

Credits: 2

Instructor: Franco Curra

Texts and Supplemental Materials: None. Reading will be assigned from the bio-instrumentation and circuits/systems texts used in BIOEN 316. Each lab project will have a handout with background, procedure, and reference to appropriate literature.

UW Catalog Description: Computational and experimental projects covering methods to acquire, process and analyze signals from physiological and biochemical origins.

Instructor Overview: In this lab course, students practice skills and reinforce concepts introduced in BIOEN 315 Biochemical and Molecular Bioengineering and BIOEN 316 Biomedical Signals and Sensors.  Computational projects provide familiarity with Fourier-transformed signals and digital filtering algorithms as used in diagnostic and scientific instruments.  Instrumentation projects teach the safe and proper use of electronic test equipment (power supplies, oscilloscopes, function generators, multimeters), and require students to assemble and analyze frequency-selective and amplifier circuits.  Representative sensor systems are explored in detail as students build prototypes and apply them to biologically relevant measurements (e.g. an LED-based colorimeter for enzyme assays).  Classes meet in the computer or instrumentation lab room, as appropriate, for one three-hour block per week.  Students are expected to contribute an additional three hours in lab at a time of their choosing.  Report preparation may require additional time outside of lab.  Projects require the use of MATLAB (prerequisite) and LabView (introduced in class).

Prerequisites by Course: Concurrent registration with BIOEN 315 and BIOEN 316.

Required or Elective: Required

Course Structure: Each student registers for and attends one scheduled three-hour lab section block per week.  Students are expected to contribute an additional three hours in lab at a time of their choosing. Approximately 14 students per section.

Course Grading:

  • Weekly lab reports                  60%
  • Lab skills tests (2)                   20%
  • Project demonstration             20%

Specific Outcomes: By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Set up electronic test equipment safely and correctly
  • Acquire voltage readings using an analog-to-digital converter and LabView
  • Perform discrete Fourier transform operations and interpret the results
  • Implement simple digital (MATLAB) and analog (RLC & op-amp) filters
  • Build a simple colorimeter and use it to analyze reaction rates in solution
  • Use a Wheatstone bridge to implement resistive sensors
  • Appreciate the frequency-selective nature of electro-mechanical systems

Topics Covered:

  1. Signal sampling, aliasing, and noise.
  2. Fourier series and the frequency domain.
  3. Discrete Fourier transforms, digital signal filtering, including finite impulse response filters, convolution, and infinite impulse response filters.
  4. Operational and instrumentation amplifiers.
  5. Analog filtering, including sensor-circuit interface, impedance, and noise.
  6. Photometric, thermal, bioelectric, biomechanical and biochemical sensors, strain gauges and bridge circuits.
  7. Ultrasonic transduction.
  8. Device fabrication.
  9. Electrical safety.

Outcomes Addressed by this Course:

C. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints.

  • Implement analog amplifier and filter circuits to condition signals for digitization (accompanies design and analysis in BIOEN 316)

The student’s ability is assessed by lab exercises targeted at conditioning analog signals collected from living systems (EMG signals or voice for example) for digitization and analysis. Students are given a goal to maintain specific features of the signals, such as minimum quantization error and minimum signal bandwidth, and they are required to design and implement analog amplifier and filter circuits to meet those specifications. In addition, most weekly labs assess the student’s ability to design software (MATLAB) to perform a specified task.

G. An ability to communicate effectively.

  • Document and communicate experimental data, methods, and findings.

The students’ ability is evaluated by weekly laboratory reports and a final project presentation and demonstration. Weekly lab reports discuss methods, results and implications of actual biosignal analysis and will give students the opportunity to develop both oral and written communication skills in presenting their work. Student presentations of final projects provide an opportunity to interact with an audience while presenting technically advanced topics.

K. An ability to use techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

  • Apply analog signal processing to prepare signals for digitization. Apply digital signal processing to create frequency filters in software.

Fundamental techniques and tools for engineering practice include a thorough understanding of the concepts of time and frequency domain analysis, analog and digital filters, and computer programming.  The students’ ability in mastering these skills is evaluated by weekly laboratory projects in signal processing and filtering both in the analog and digital domain. In particular lab exercises on FFT, IIR, and FIR will assess the students’ skills in the digital domain for time and frequency domains analysis, digital filters, and software programing (MATLAB). Lab exercises on EMG, voice, and oximetry signal acquisition, RLC filters, analog amplifiers for signal conditioning, and digitization will assess the students’ ability in the analog domain, their skills in using test equipment (oscilloscope, digital meters, power sources), and their ability to physically build a system from hardware components.

N. The ability to make measurements on and interpret data from living systems, addressing the problems associated with the interaction between living and non-living materials and systems.

  • Understand introductory statistical analysis tools and apply them to the interpretation of measurements performed on non-living systems.

The class discusses the fundamentals of signal acquisition, discretization, quantization, and analysis. The students’ ability is evaluated through representative exercises in the collection and digitization of EMG, voice, and oximetry signals and their interpretation through an array of introductory statistical analysis tools such as mean, variance, and standard deviation as well as the concepts of RMS (root-mean-squared) and SNR (signal-to-noise ratio).

Relationship of Course to Program Educational Objectives:

In this lab course, students complete computational projects in order to learn Fourier-transformed signals and digital filtering algorithms as used in diagnostic and scientific instruments.  Instrumentation projects teach the safe and proper use of electronic test equipment (power supplies, oscilloscopes, function generators, multimeters) and require students to assemble and analyze frequency-selective and amplifier circuits.  Representative sensor systems are explored in detail as students build prototypes and apply them to biologically relevant measurements (e.g. an LED-based colorimeter for enzyme assays).  Projects require the use of MATLAB and LabView.  This background is expected to increase their potential for both employment and advanced training and educational opportunities.  BIOEN 317 gives students direct, hands-on exposure to the procedures used in a variety of engineering and biomedical disciplines. They have the opportunity to hone their communication skills by documenting and communicating experimental data, methods, and findings. Technical communication skills are essential to virtually all bioengineering-related career paths.  In this way, this course prepares our students to pursue opportunities for professional growth as well as eventually take leadership roles across an expanding range of fields, increasing their potential to impact their profession and community.  BIOEN 317 contributes to providing students with the tools necessary to reach the following Program Educational Objectives:

  1. Earn advanced degrees and/or obtain employment in bioengineering related fields, such as medicine, device development, or biotechnology.
  2. Advance their careers by obtaining appropriate educational and professional qualifications.
  3. Serve their profession and community.
  4. Contribute to responsible development of new technical knowledge.
  5. Take leadership roles in addressing domestic or global bioengineering related issues.

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