Design of Medical Instrumentation

Biomedical Engineers need to be able to design safe and effective instrumentation meeting the needs of medical professionals for monitoring and treating their patients. Biomedical researchers depend on the availability of reliable instrumentation to interface with their systems. The consumer industry is tapping into a growing market for personal monitoring devices for health and fitness tracking.  The course BME100:  Design of Medical Instrumentation seeks to introduce students to the concepts involved in the realization of such instrumentation.The basis of the design elements remain the same:  linear system approximations, an understanding of basic electronics and the interface between electronics and living systems, sensor design and application. However he technical environment in which the engineer operates is constantly and rapidly evolving. Computers are becoming faster, smaller, and more powerful. Smart phones are ubiquitous. The fundamental science behind all these devices progresses at ever increasing speed.

It is with this background in mind that the course is taught a flexible and evolving way. It is built around the following basic topics:

  • Linear systems: transfer functions and frequency response
  • Electrodes for biopotential recording
  • Basic electronics including operational amplifiers and the instrumentation amplifier
  • Transducers for temperature, displacement, pressure, force, and flow
  • Optical transducers and blood oxygenation measurement
  • Computer interfaces and data acquisition
  • Product development and regulation
  • Safety

Students have the opportunity to relate these topics to current engineering practice by

  • Relating their learning to material in the scientific and professional literature
  • Participating in a group project to discover the engineering involved in the development of an existing commercial product

Graphically oriented programming for biomedical engineers

Modern Biomedical Engineering often involves designing interfaces between the body and the device, and the device and the outside world. Examples of the former include things as simple as a thermometer, or as complicated as a drug delivery device. Examples of the latter include computerized control of devices such as deep brain stimulators, and device readout such as displays of vital signs.

This course will introduce the student to the concept of graphical programming, so that engineers can design interfaces without the need for detailed line by line programming. This method allows you to use Labview and Matlab to design a block diagram that can be directly and automatically translated to appropriate computer code.

This idea not only allows the design of computer interfaces via data acquisition boards such as the National Instruments USB-6008

but also the programming of microcontrollers via platforms such as Arduino:

Arduino Board