Master Course Description for EE 436 (ABET sheet)

Title: Medical Instrumentation

Credits:  4 (3 lecture; 1 lab)

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator:  Robert Bruce Darling, Professor, Electrical Engineering

Goals:  This course provides seniors and first year graduate students in electrical engineering and bioengineering with a theoretical and practical understanding of the instrumentation systems used in making human physiological measurements.  Students will gain familiarity and experience with the transducers, signal conditioning circuits, and signal processing approaches that are used to obtain these physiological measurements through several intensive design projects. 

Learning Objectives:  At the end of this course, students will be able to

  1. Understand and apply the principles of cell electrophysiology, biopotentials, and electrical interactions with tissue. 
  2. Design operational amplifier, instrumentation amplifier, and signal conditioning circuitry for measuring biopotentials and other physiological quantities. 
  3. Understand and apply the principles of electrical noise analysis in circuits. 
  4. Design operational amplifier circuits for low noise operation and rejection of coupled interference. 
  5. Understand and apply the principles of electrical equivalent circuits for transducers to the design of measurement instrumentation. 
  6. Design accurate measurement circuits and data acquisition systems which minimize instrumentation system errors. 
  7. Understand and be conversant with the principles of clinical human physiological measurements, particularly those associated with circulation, respiration, and metabolism. 
  8. Understand and apply the principles of electrical safety for humans. 
  9. Formulate and solve open-ended human physiological measurement design problems. 
  10. Write formal project reports and design documentation. 
  11. Demonstrate awareness of contemporary issues and practices in the medical instrumentation field. 

Textbook:  J. G. Webster (ed.), Medical Instrumentation:  Applications and Design, 4th Ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2010.  ISBN # 978-0-471-67600-3

Reference Texts: 

  1. R. K. Hobbie, Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology, 3rd Ed., Springer AIP Biological Physics Series, 1997.  ISBN # 1-56396-458-9. 
  2. A. Despopoulos and S. Silbernagl, Color Atlas of Physiology, 5th Ed., Georg Thieme Verlag, 2003.  ISBN # 1-58890-061-4.  
  3. L. H. Opie, Heart Physiology:  From Cell to Circulation, 4th Ed., Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2004.  ISBN # 0-7817-4278-1. 
  4. D. Dubin, Rapid Interpretation of EKG's, 6th Ed., Cover Publishing, Inc., 2000.  ISBN # 0-912912-06-5.  
  5. A. Y. K. Chan, Biomedical Device Technology – Principles and Design, C. C. Thomas Publishers, 2008.  ISBN # 978-0-398-07699-3. 
  6. J. D. Enderle and J. D. Bronzino, Introduction to Biomedical Engineering, 3rd Ed., Academic Press, 2012.  ISBN # 978-0-12-374979-6. 

Prerequisites by Topic: 

  1. Fourier and Laplace analysis of linear systems (EE-235 or equivalent)
  2. Fundamentals of analog circuits and electrical measurement systems (EE-331/EE-332 or equivalent)
  3. Characteristics and limitations of operational amplifiers (EE-332 or equivalent)
  4. Elementary understanding of anatomy and physiology

Topics:  (approximately 1 week per topic)

  1. Basic Concepts of Medical Instrumentation.  (Ch. 1 of Webster)
  2. Basic Sensors and Principles.  (Ch. 2 of Webster)
  3. Amplifiers and Signal Processing.  (Ch. 3 of Webster)
  4. The Origin of Biopotentials.  (Ch. 4 of Webster)
  5. Biopotential Electrodes.  (Ch. 5 of Webster)
  6. Biopotential Amplifiers.  (Ch. 6 of Webster)
  7. Blood Pressure and Sound.  (Ch. 7 of Webster)
  8. Measurement of Flow and Volume of Blood.  (Ch. 8 of Webster)
  9. Measurements of the Respiratory System.  (Ch. 9 of Webster)
  10. Therapeutic and Prosthetic Devices.  (Ch. 13 of Webster)
  11. Electrical Safety.  (Ch. 14 of Webster)

Course Structure:  The class meets three times a week for 50 minute lectures.  Homework problems are assigned weekly.  A mid-term and a final exam are given.  The laboratory formally meets once each week for 3 hours; however, students normally work outside of these formal hours as they progress through their design projects.  The laboratory design projects are a major focus of the class, and significant lecture time is also devoted to discussing approaches, techniques, and commonly encountered problems.  Typically, up to three major design projects are assigned, and students work on these design projects in teams of three members.  The teams often involve a mixture of electrical engineering and bioengineering students.  The course is often supplemented by guest lectures and visits to clinical laboratories on campus to provide exposure to the current state-of-the-art in medical instrumentation. 

Computer Resources:  The students may have need to use SPICE for circuit simulation, MATLAB / Simulink for general purpose computation and signal processing, and LabVIEW for data acquisition and instrument control.  Multisim, MATLAB, and LabVIEW are available in all of the general purpose computing laboratories in the EE Department. 

Laboratory Resources:  Electronic design, prototyping, testing, and data acquisition is supported in the undergraduate electronics laboratory in room EEB 137.  Each bench contains basic electrical instruments, including oscilloscopes, power supplies, function generators, digital multimeters, and computer-based data acquisition and instrument control. 

Laboratory Structure:  The course involves four laboratory segments.  The first segment is a set of experimental procedures to acquaint the student with electrical noise and interference and refresh their expertise with debugging operational amplifier circuits.  The second segment is a project to design a low-noise biopotential amplifier for ECG, EMG, EEG, or EOG to a set of prescribed specifications.  The third and fourth segments are linked projects to design a complete medical instrumentation system.  Student teams may choose to develop an instrument for measurements of either circulation, respiration, or metabolism.  The first project involves the design of a core measurement system, and the second project extends that design further to include a secondary measurement which relies upon the results of the first. 

Grading:  Laboratory Design Projects (40%); Homework (20%); Mid-Term Exam (20%); Final Exam (20%) 

Outcome Coverage:  This course provides the ABET major design experience and addresses the following outcomes: 


(a)  An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.  A working knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering is needed to grasp the fundamental principles underlying human physiological measurements, and to understand the methods which are used to quantitate these measurements across a broad population of individuals.  Mathematical models are developed for each of the physiological processes, and these models are used in the construction of applicable measurement techniques.  (High relevance to course) 

(b)  An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.  As part of the design process, the students must devise experiments to test their instrumental methods, and then analyze the data that these instrumentation systems produce, in order to insure that the correct measurands are being isolated and accurately recorded.  (High relevance to course) 

(c)  An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.  The students are given three major instrument design projects over the quarter.  Each of these are put in the form of a set of specifications that the final design must meet.  These specifications include cost, size, weight, accuracy, repeatability, and in some cases, manufacturability, ease of use, adherence to accepted medical, electrical, and safety standards, and intellectual property rights of existing designs.  Students are allowed to use any components, technologies, methods, or approaches that they deem satisfactory in achieving these specifications.  The degree to which each team's design satisfies the stated specifications is weighted as one half of the overall design project score.  (High relevance to course) 

(d)  An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.  Each of the design teams normally consist of a mixture of electrical engineering and bioengineering students who enter the class with different backgrounds and skill sets.  The design project score is given to the group as a whole, so the success of each design team relies upon each group organizing themselves and dividing up the various parts of the project in order to accomplish it efficiently.  (High relevance to course) 

(e)  An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.  Each of the design projects, as well as many of the homework problems, are open-ended and require the students to first identify and bound the scope of the problem.  Their formulation and solution of the problems are represented in their written homework assignments and their design project documentation.  (Medium relevance to course) 

(f)  An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.  Each of the design projects involves the measurement of human physiological quantities, and as such, a primary element is the professional and ethical responsibility that must be extended to each human patient individually, and to the overall field of medicine, collectively.  (High relevance to course) 

(g)  An ability to communicate effectively.  Each of the design projects requires a formally written set of design documents which counts for one half of the overall score for each design project.  The design documents include sections on purpose, features, ratings, block diagrams, key design equations, complete schematics, complete bill of materials and cost estimate, hardware construction details, alignment procedures, operational warnings and instructions, acknowledgements and references.  (High relevance to course) 

(j)  A knowledge of contemporary issues.  The design projects and homework problems are based upon current issues, practices, and techniques prevalent in the field of medical instrumentation.  An emphasis on clinical techniques is also used to demonstrate the global issues of modern health care and disease diagnostics.  (Medium relevance to course) 

(k)  An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.  The students can make use of SPICE, MATLAB, Simulink, and LabVIEW to accomplish any and all of the tasks required for the homework problems or the design projects.  The students are not specifically told to use any particular software, but they are encouraged to use those tools which best suit the problem at hand.  (Medium relevance to course) 

ABET Criterion 4 Considerations

Engineering standards - Students must develop their laboratory design projects to meet specific performance specifications, some of which include benchmark testing or compliance testing against accepted standards for performance and safety.  Designs must usually meet published regulatory standards, including FCC emissions, UL electrical safety criteria, and AAMI standards for physiological instrumentation and patient safety. 

Realistic constraints - Each of the laboratory design projects, in addition to having explicit electrical performance specifications, is fundamentally phrased and graded in terms of the final solution's size, weight, cost, power consumption, alignment ease, component variability, manufacturability criteria, and patient safety criteria. 

Prepared By:  R. Bruce Darling

Last revised:  12/15/2012