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A Project Driven Approach To Biomedical Signals And Systems

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Laboratories and Computer Simulation in BME

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.101.1 - 12.101.12



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Paper Authors

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Joe Tranquillo


Daniel Cavanagh

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JOSEPH V TRANQUILLO is an assistant professor of biomedical and electrical engineering at Bucknell University. Dr. Tranquillo teaches courses primarily in bioinstrumentation. His research focuses on theoretical and computational models of electrical activity in the heart.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Biomedical Signals and Systems Design Course 1

A Project-Driven Approach to Biomedical Signals and Systems Abstract Signals and Systems classes often require students to apply advanced mathematics that may appear to students to be unrelated to engineering design. To bridge this gap, semester-long student driven design projects were recently implemented in a junior-level Biomedical Signals and Systems course. These projects were part of a two-phase course model and required student-led design and implementation of an automated control system to study a physiologic relevant fluid-flow phenomena.

In the first phase of the course, students progressed through a sequence of seven vertical labs that built technical and troubleshooting skills needed for their semester project. In the first lab, students recorded a pressure drop between two points in a recirculation loop composed of analog devices. The tubing between these two points was clamped and the flow rate was manually adjusted to return the pressure drop. In labs two through five, the analog pumps, flow and pressure meters, and tube clamps were systematically replaced by digital devices under the control of LabVIEW. In lab six, a stand-alone PID controller was explored qualitatively. In lab seven, the first lab was repeated with digital devices and a PID controller. Each lab was either preceded or followed by lectures on the relevant signals and systems theory and a discussion on effective troubleshooting.

In the second phase of the course, the system constructed in phase one was modified by the students to simulate a physiologic function, problem or therapy. Students were encouraged to incorporate new devices into their system and apply theoretical concepts from lecture to the design of their own system. For example, one group designed a system to simulate how peripheral blood vessels respond to hypothermia, requiring integration of a thermocouple. Progress was monitored through regular meetings with the instructor and short and focused written assignments. A 20-minute presentation/demonstrations and two-page IEEE formatted document were used to assess project management and results.

Although the example above was for a recirculating flow loop, we believe the concept of vertical labs leading toward a semester-long project is an effective way for students to learn and apply concepts taught in a traditional signals and system courses. Based upon end-of-course evaluations, we conclude that student were able to effectively translate course work to design, and develop intuition in troubleshooting.

Tranquillo, J., & Cavanagh, D. (2007, June), A Project Driven Approach To Biomedical Signals And Systems Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2136

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