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Teaching Hands On Biomedical Instrumentation

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.418.1 - 1.418.6

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David J. Beebe

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

Session 2309


David J. Beebe

Department of Biomedical Engineering Louisiana Tech University 711 S. Vienna Street Ruston, LA 71270

INTRODUCTION Hands-on laboratory experience is an essential component of an engineer’s undergraduate training. In this paper the above hypothesis will be supported via personal experience and results of a survey of programs offering biomedical instrumentation courses. Specific strategies for providing hands-on training, developed and implemented in the biomedical instrumentation courses at Louisiana Tech University, will be described. The strategies described are not new and in most cases are not even orginal, but rather an extension of techniques I encountered as a undergraduate student and as a teaching assistant under John Webster during graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have attempted to take the best from these experiences and implement/improve them in my own courses at Louisiana Tech University. The examples described here are used in a sequence of two biomedical instrumentation courses. The first is taught during the spring of the junior year and covers analog instrumentation. The second is taught during the fall of the senior year and covers digital signal processing. A design project in the second course requires students to synthesize the concepts from both courses and use them to design and build a complete instrumentation system. John Webster’s text, “Medical Instrumentation,” is used for the first course and Willis Tompkin’s text, “Biomedical Digital Signal Processing,” is used for the second course 1,2.

NEED FOR HANDS-ON LABORATORY EXPERIENCE “Engineers put things together to make things that haven’t been around before.” - Joe Bordogna, NSF. Assuming this description of what engineers do to be accurate, an engineers training should be structured to allow the prospective engineer time to do engineering in a practical, hands-on way. In this section, several issues relating to the need for increased quantity and quality in the undergraduate laboratory experience are discussed.

Pressures to reduce credit load Biomedical engineering is, by definition, multidisciplinary. Typical biomedical engineering undergraduate curriculum includes course work in basic engineering science, biology, physiology in addition to traditional pre-engineering course work in calculus, physics and chemistry. The need for multidisciplinary training and the pressures to reduce the total number of credits can result in the omission of laboratory courses outside of the biomedical engineering department. In our curriculum, for example, the physics

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Beebe, D. J. (1996, June), Teaching Hands On Biomedical Instrumentation Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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