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Instrumentation to Facilitate Learning in a First Bio-potentials Course

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Instrumentation Technical Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.765.1 - 23.765.8



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Paper Authors


Andrew Hoff University of South Florida

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Dr. Andrew Hoff is a Professor of Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida. His research and educational focus explores bio-electric phenomena and the processing and characterization of material surfaces. He has developed educational materials for high school science and math curricula with funding provided by the National Science Foundation.

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Richard Gilbert University of South Florida

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Dr. Richard Gilbert is a professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida's College of Engineering and a Co-Principle Investigator for FLATE. The Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center of Excellence with a statewide mission to help colleges within the Florida State College system maximize the skills and STEM impact of their A.S. degree programs that address the production of a technical workforce to meet the needs of Florida's high tech sector. Dr. Gilbert's applied engineering research interested are focus on electric field mediated drug and gene delivery. He has publications in this area and holds over a dozen patents tied to licensed technology related to applicators and delivery protocols for cancer treatments.

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Instrumentation to Facilitate Learning in a First Bio-potentials CourseActive learning is a well-studied approach to promote student understanding and problemsolving. The laboratory component of a course on the engineering aspects of the operation ofnerve and muscle extends this approach by employing an advanced computer assisted dataacquisition system that facilitates the student’s study of electrical signals generated within theirown bodies. In this constructivist environment, interdisciplinary teams of biomedical andelectrical engineering students were tasked to study and explore the dependencies of surfaceelectrical signals generated in muscle bundles or in nerves.The hardware and software laboratory components used were obtained from ADInstruments andconsisted of PowerLab analog and differential voltage sensors with 24-bit resolution, anassortment of electrode pick-up types and sensors, and a web-hosted experiment managementand operations software, LabTutor. The experimental system platforms were utilized by threestudent teams that first explored bread-board generated signals and externally synthesizedsignals. They studied adjustments to the timing and sensitivity and explored the effects of signalfiltering. Following this, teams were asked to explore signals emanating from muscle and theinterdependence of muscle action with the physical configuration of the electrical pick-uphardware. Signals derived from nerve were explored in a similar fashion and compared withthose from muscle. Finally, the groups were asked to propose a physiological signal pick-upmethod and devise an approach to produce a signal that could be used to control an externalcomponent.A variety of assessments were administered both prior to and following laboratory experiences.Students were also surveyed as to their attitudes and perceptions stemming from this activelearning approach in comparison to the lecture based initial content in the course. In particularthe capability of exploring the concepts as groups was assessed. These results are compared withresults from prior course offerings that included no laboratory components.

Hoff, A., & Gilbert, R. (2013, June), Instrumentation to Facilitate Learning in a First Bio-potentials Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19779

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