Asee peer logo

Lessons Learned from the Application of Virtual Instruments and Portable Hardware to Electrode-based Biomedical Laboratory Exercises

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.892.1 - 25.892.18



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Steve Warren Kansas State University

visit author page

Steve Warren received a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 1989 and 1991, respectively, followed by a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Warren is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Kansas State University. Prior to joining KSU in August 1999, Dr. Warren was a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. He directs the KSU Medical Component Design Laboratory, a facility partially funded by the National Science Foundation that provides resources for the research and development of distributed medical monitoring technologies and learning tools that support biomedical contexts. His research focuses on plug-and-play, point-of-care medical monitoring systems that utilize interoperability standards, wearable sensors and signal processing techniques for the determination of human and animal physiological status, and educational tools and techniques that maximize learning and student interest. Warren is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

visit author page

author page

Xiongjie Dong Kansas State University


Tim J. Sobering Kansas State University

visit author page

Tim J. Sobering is an Electrical Engineer and serves as Director of the Kansas State University Electronics Design Laboratory. His B.Sc. (1982) and M.Sc. (1984) degrees are in electrical engineering, both from Kansas State University, where he specialized in instrumentation and measurement with graduate work focusing on low-power analog-to-digital conversion architectures and dynamic testing methods. He worked for 12 years at Sandia National Laboratories where he developed electro-optic remote sensing instruments for the detection of nuclear, biological, chemical, and laser weapons proliferation. In 1996 Tim came to K-State and started the Electronics Design Laboratory. As EDL's Director, Tim’s vision was realized as the laboratory came online and assumed the responsibility for supporting the instrumentation needs of research programs across all of K-State.

visit author page


Jason Yao East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Jianchu (Jason) Yao received a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 2005. He is currently an associate professor of engineering at East Carolina University. His research interests include wearable medical devices, elehealthcare, bioinstrumentation, control systems, and biosignal processing. His educational research interests are laboratory/project-driven learning and integration of research into undergraduate education. Yao is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

visit author page

Download Paper |


Lessons Learned from the Application of Virtual Instruments and Portable Hardware to Electrode-Based Biomedical Laboratory ExercisesAbstractPortable data acquisition hardware and virtual instruments offer students the flexibility tocomplete laboratory assignments at home, alleviating traffic in conventional laboratories while atthe same time offering an instructional mode more consistent with the students’ connectedlifestyles. To that end, the authors used support from the National Science Foundation CCLI(TUES) program to develop a hardware platform referred to as a Rapid Analysis and SignalConditioning Laboratory (RASCL) unit. This tool offers a power supply, a large-areabreadboard, an analog function generator, two electrically-isolated input channels, and acollection of connectors for input/output signals. Analog and digital signals from the circuitry onthis board are sent via a ribbon cable to a National Instruments (NI) myDAQ® personal dataacquisition unit, which then connects through a USB port to a computer running the NILabVIEW® software. Students therefore have access to a collection of virtual instrumentscoupled with the hardware necessary to build and test circuitry at home.This paper focuses on the improved design of the version 4.0 RASCL board with respect to theusability of the electrically isolated channels and the quality of the resulting signals. The designeffectiveness was assessed within the context of a Fall 2011 course: ECE 772 – BiomedicalInstrumentation. These laboratory exercises addressed variants of electrode-based biomedicalcircuitry, including electrocardiographs, electromyographs, and electro-oculographs, where theuse of isolated channels added a necessary safety layer. Each student worked with their ownRASCL unit and built the base circuitry for all three exercises around a traditionalinstrumentation-amplifier-based core. PSpice simulations corroborated anticipated circuitbehavior. Students assessed the frequency content of each of the respective signals prior todesigning and building the appropriate filter circuitry. Laboratory report assessments, coupledwith end-of-semester surveys, indicated that (a) learning objectives were met, (b) studentexperiences were positive, and (c) the resources provided by the portable toolset were sensiblealternatives to benchtop hardware that would normally be employed in those exercises.

Warren, S., & Dong, X., & Sobering, T. J., & Yao, J. (2012, June), Lessons Learned from the Application of Virtual Instruments and Portable Hardware to Electrode-based Biomedical Laboratory Exercises Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21649

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015