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WIP: Biomedical Sensors Laboratory Activities Using Labview and Adaptation for Virtual Instruction

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Division Poster Session (Works in Progress)

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Benjamin Hawkins California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Orcid 16x16

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My professional interests focus on the development and use of microsystems (biosensors, microcontrollers, etc) to matters of human health. Primarily this is focused on microfluidics, but also ranges from wearable devices to laboratory equipment. Applications range from cell measurements to ecological questions.
Educationally, I am focused on developing courses and content that connects theory to technology in practice, with an emphasis on rigorous understanding of both.

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Biomedical Engineering practice often reflects a “systems engineering” perspective on electrical and/or mechanical devices or systems that interact with a biological system. The successful Biomedical Engineer understands the breadth of physics and physiology involved in the design and testing of a new system. To support this goal in biomedical engineering education, we present the development of a sequence of laboratory activities that use LabVIEW to acquire thermal, electrical, mechanical, and optical data. For each measurement, students consider the signal source, transduction mechanism, encoding and transmission, and how each stage affects data interpretation. These activities aim to guide students through synthesizing a broad and diverse educational background centered around biomedical devices. While designed around an in-person, hands-on experience, this work was adapted for remote instruction by shifting to a “demonstration-and-analysis” model. In addition to assessment results on the efficacy of using the “signal acquisition” pathway to help students synthesize information from previous coursework, we aim to measure the efficacy of our remote instruction educational approach on student achievement and engagement. An example of the approach is a laboratory activity wherein students build (or observe someone building) a mechanical measurement system to acquire force measurements. Two systems are compared: a force-sensitive resistor and a load cell. In both cases, students consider the physical mechanisms that lead to the measurement and how factors such as temperature and electrical interference might affect results. Students write LabVIEW Vis to acquire data, calibrate the sensors, filter and store data, and analyze the acquired data. Measurement figures of merit such as sensitivity, accuracy, precision, and resolution are calculated, along with considerations of hysteresis and limit of detection. Students report on each of these factors and how they potentially impact biomedical measurements and the conclusions drawn from the acquired data. Initial survey and assessment results indicate a positive response to the activities and success in developing a deeper understanding of the interactions of physics and physiology at the graduate level.

Hawkins, B. (2021, July), WIP: Biomedical Sensors Laboratory Activities Using Labview and Adaptation for Virtual Instruction Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38072

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