BIE291 Biomedical Instrumentation

Module Lead: Stephen Matcher | Profile | Email

Other Teaching Staff:  Claire Johnson | Profile | Email

QAA Framework Credit Level: 5

Credits: 10

Semester: Spring

Pre-Requisites: None

Co-Requisites: None

Restrictions: None

Module Overview

Module Description

This module aims to describe key concepts in biomedical instrumentation by means of examples drawn from the area of critical care monitoring. In particular, devices and techniques used clinically to monitor oxygen delivery to tissues are explained and used to highlight basic instrumentation principles in electronics and signal processing. The lectures are supported by two 3-hour lab-classes, which use the Powerlab (R) system to illustrate physiological monitoring techniques.

Module Syllabus

Biochemical basis of oxygen consumption.
Passive and active oxygen transport via the circulation.
Physiological origin of bioelectric phenomena in nerve and muscle.
Detection via bioelectrodes.
Signal conditioning and input amplifier designs.
Origin and quantification of noise in the clinic.
SNR improvement by signal processing.
Frontal plane and 12-lead ECG.
Respiratory monitoring.
Harmonic synchronous detection.
The Discrete Fourier Transform.
Quantitative measurements of lung function.
Physiological pressure measurement.
Flow measurement.
Doppler ultrasound flowmetry.
Clinical implementation of Doppler ultrasound.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching Methods

  • Lectures  (20 Hours)
  • Tutorials (2 Hours)
  • Laboratory Sessions (3 Hours)
  • Independent Study (64 Hours)

Assessment Methods

  • Lab work (10%)
  • Examination (90%)

Teaching Materials

  • MOLE
  • Library

Resit Assessment

  • Examination (100%) 

Reading Materials

Main text books (A – core text; B – secondary text; C – peripheral reading)
A Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, b Brown et al, Taylor and Francis, 1999
B Biomedical Engineering Fundamentals (e-book), J Bronzino, CRC/Taylor and Francis, 2006.
C Bioinstrumentation. JG Webster, Wiley, 2004.


  • Feedback on lab assignments is provided by Diamond staff
Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

The following learning outcomes include the knowledge, skills, capabilities or aptitudes which you can expect to learn on this module.

These module learning outcomes have been assigned codes which correspond to the AHEP-3 learning outcomes as defined by the Engineering Council. For a full explanation of these codes, refer to the AHEP-3 Learning Outcomes.

Module Learning Outcomes

AHEP-3 Learning Outcomes


Understand the engineering principles underlying major pieces of clinical instrumentation.
Appreciate how interference and noise can be controlled in the clinical environment.
SM1b, SM2b EA3b


 Solve quantitative problems concerning the design and operation of clinical instruments. 
 Understand basic concepts of data acquistion from the analog to digital realms. 
EA2, EA3b SM1b


Understand software approaches to signal conditioning and processing. 
Plan and undertake physiological investigations in a laboratory environment. 
SM3b P2, P3, P4, P8


Analyze experimental data and present the results. 
Appreciate the ethical issues surrounding the use of human volunteers in lab experiments. 
G1, EA2 EL1, EL5, EL6