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BIOM 5100 / BMG 5103 / SYSC5302 / ELG6118B - Bioinstrumentation


Instrumentation designed to measure physiological variables related to the function of the heart,lungs, kidney, nervous and musculo-skeletal system; emergency, critical care, surgery and anaesthesia equipment.


OCIECE and OCIBME graduate students.


Andy Adler
Office: Minto 7040
Phone: +1-613-520-2600 x 8785

Times and Locations

Fall 2009     (Sept. 14 − Dec. 7)

Google Calendar: HTML ICAL
Section  Activity  Day  Location 
BIOM5100    LEC 1    Monday 8:30−11:30    CO210   


John G. Webster, Medical Instrumentation: Application and Design,
− 4rd Edition: ISBN: 0-471-67600-3 Hardcover 671 pages,
− Text web site, powerpoint slides


Work  Value
Assignments    24%
Project    30−40%
− Project proposal     − 3%
− Midterm report     − 5%
− Presentation     − 7%
− Report     − 15%
Final Exam    36−46%


Marks Policies

  • Late work Policy (without *excellent* excuse): 1) 20% if ≤ 7 days late, 2) 0 mark if > 7 days late.
  • If you wish to do a single (larger) assignments, assignment for two graduate courses, you must obtain written permission from all profs involved. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a position of academic fraud.
  • If you have a question about a mark you have received, fill out, sign and submit this form.
  • Academic fraud will be taken very seriously. Cooperation between students for assignments is expected and encouraged, however, copying of another's work is not. You should not be leaving a discussion with copies of another student's work.

Students with Disabilities

    Students with disabilities requiring academic accommodations in this course must register with the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities for a formal evaluation of disability-related needs. Registered PMC students are required to contact the Centre, 613-520-6608, every term to ensure that I receive your Letter of Accommodation, no later than two weeks before the first assignment is due or the first in-class test/midterm requiring accommodations. If you require accommodation for your formally scheduled exam(s) in this course, please submit your request for accommodation to PMC by Nov 16, 2009.


Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date indicated.
No.  Assignment  Due Date 
  1. Problem 2.1 (text). Instead of "Ranges of Rm", use the following values, Rm=100kΩ, Rp=2kΩ If you're having trouble with doing this question analytically, you can solve it numerically with a simulation. I'll give (almost) all the marks for this approach.
  2. Problem 4.6 (text). Also, sketch the voltage distribution along the nerve axon 10ms after the stimulation Assume the nerve axon has no myelin and the conduction velocity is 30m/s. Sketch the regions of absolute and relative refractory period Note: you are only required to sketch a reasonable shape of the curves. I don't require calculation of the exact curve shape and values.
  3. Thermistors typically respond slowly. Consider a thermistor with time constant τ=4.0s, and the subject to be breathing as shown in Question 3C from Final 07B. Note: Only use the graph from this exam question. You are not asked to solve the question on the exam.
    1. The thermistor has β=1000K; at T0=25°C, R=250Ω. What is the change in R for a change from 40°C to 40.1°C?
    2. If we heat the thermistor to 40°C, we can measure the cooling caused by the air flow. Assume that the breathing flow, if kept constant, would cause a change of 3°C. For an delay time of T=5.0s, sketch the thermistor resistance vs time, starting at an initial temperature of 40°C.
    3. Normally, a thermistor cannot measure the direction of flow. Briefly explain why. However, with two thermistors, we can measure flow by placing them at different distances from the nostril. Briefly explain why the signals in the thermistors will differ. Sketch the signals in each thermistor.
  4. Discuss one biomedical application of a (1) Piezoelectric sensor, and (2) strain gauge sensor. (each paragraph should be approx 100 words. This question requires some research beyond the course material.) Note: be careful to avoid plagiarism if you quote from source on the internet (note that I'm not suggesting that you may not use the internet)
  Oct. 5  

  • (5 points) Often the electrolyte gel on an Ag/AgCl begins to dry out as after prolonged use (24h+). Draw the equivalent circuit for an electrode & gel. Discuss how this circuit changes when the electrode gel drys out.
  • (5 points) Question 1B from Final 07B
  • (5 points) Question 1A from Final 08
  • (5 points) Question 1B from Final 08
  • (5 points) Question 1F from Final 08 (only the first question change in electrode voltage)
  • (5 points) In class, we discussed some mechanisms of ventricular fibrillation. Discuss how a relatively long absolute refractory period can help protect against ventricular fibrillation.
  • (5 points) Nerve Conduction Velocity: Consider the classic "knee-jerk" reflex test. Sketch a diagram of the nerve signal conduction pathway during this test. What accounts for the time delay between the hammer tap and muscle contraction?
  Oct. 26  

  1. Sketch a graph of blood pressure, ventricular volume, heart sounds and electrical activity (slide #14.7). Sketch and briefly describe how the graph of pressure and volume would change if the aortic valve were a) Stenotic, b) Insufficient
  2. Consider two sources of interference on an an instrumentation amplifier: common-mode interference and thermal noise in a resistor. An INA 128 instrumentation amplifier with CMRR=120dB is used to measure signals: Vcm=10V and Vd=100µV.
    1. If RG=500Ω what is the output, Vo for the difference and common-mode part of the signal.
    2. If the resistor just above op-amp A3 (on page 1 of the specification shee) has a value of 40.1kΩ (instead of 40kΩ), and the chip is otherwise perfect, calculate the CMRR.
    3. In practice, the cables that are used to connect the amplifier to the patient mean that much lower CMRR values are obtained. Discuss (briefly) one reason for this decrease in CMRR
  3. Based on Final 2005 (Q3). An intra-arterial blood pressure transducer is to measure systolic and diastolic pressure. Assume the blood pressure has simplified rectangular waveform, as shown. The systolic pressure is 150 mmHg; the diastolic pressure is 100 mmHg. Systole lasts 200 ms, while diastole lasts 500 ms.
    1. In class we descussed three kinds of pressure waveform distortions. Briefly describe (<50 words) each of them, using a sketch.
    2. Assume, the pressure transducer is responding very slowly. Measurement of the response shows f0=20 Hz, and ζ=1.5. a) Sketch the blood pressure waveform and the blood pressure transducer output. b) By how much will the pressure underestimate the true values?
    3. Now, assume, the pressure transducer has f0=20 Hz, and ζ=0.15. a) Extimate the fraction of overshoot (slide 2A.16). a) Sketch the blood pressure waveform and the blood pressure transducer output. b) By how much will the pressure overestimate the true values?
  4. A person with a systolic pressure of 150 mmHg and diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg and HR=90 beats/min, is having their blood pressure measured.
    1. Using the oscillometric technique, sketch a graph of the blood pressure versus time. (Some people have put only the cuff pressure or the blood pressure. I'll accept both). Indicate what is happening at each significant point (Systolic Pressure, Mean Arterial Pressure, and Diastolic Pressure).
    2. It it possible to obtain a continuous monitoring of blood pressure using the oscillometric technique? Briefly describe why or why not
  Nov. 9  

  1. A pulse oxymeter is used to measure arterial oxygen concentration. However, arterial blood represents a small fraction of the material in the finger or ear lobe onto which the oxymeter is typically placed. Most of the optical path is filled with skin, tissue and venous blood. Explain how a pulse oxymeter is able to measure arterial blood concentration alone and to reject the contribution from other tissues.
  2. If a pulse oxymeter uses only two wavelengths of light, it can be fooled by the presence of HbCO (carboxyhemoglobin) in the blood. How would this change for a pulse oxymeter which uses more light wavelengths?
  3. Do the following questions from the 2008 final exam
    1. Question 2A.
    2. Question 2B.
    3. Question 2C. (Answer Both (1) and (2) subsections)
    4. Question 2D.
  Nov. 23  


Activity   Description   Due Date  
Project Proposal   Proposal is 1-2 pages (double spaced). Include problem description, proposed techniques, and references.   Oct. 5  
Midterm report   Report is a minimum of 5 pages (double spaced). Describe project progress to date. Discuss any current challenges.   Nov. 16  
Presentation   Presentations will be (≤10 minutes) in English. Marks are based on technical content (45%), clarity of presentation (45%), and ability to answer questions (10%).   Nov. 30 − Dec. 7  
Project Report   The report will be 10−20 pages (double spaced) and written in English or French. Include an introduction, methods, results and discussion. Ensure that the report synthesizes and discusses the material. Do not simply restate existing work. Marks are based on the technical content, and clarity of its presentation.   Dec. 14  

The Course project may be any of the following: ( it will be permissible to work in groups of 2 or 3 for projects in which an experiment is designed - the larger the group, the more challenging the project).

  • Design of a medical instrumentation experiment.

    A list of possible project ideas (please discuss your ideas with the instructor to get feedback on feasibility)
    − measure ECG and calculate heart rate for different activities
    − measure EMG and calculate gait
    − measure EMG and calculate fatigue
    − measure flow and calculate Flow Volume loops to get maximum expiratory flow
    − build mask to simulate high expiratory resistance in asthma − calculate flow
    − get blood pressure from inflated cuff
    − Measure VO2,max with exercise
    − Test maximum expiratory flow with negative end expiratory pressure (NEEP)
    − Measure surface and core temperature changes

  • Implementation and testing of a medical instrumentation algorithm
    Data may come from any of the following sources:
    − Measured at respiratory system lab
    − Obtained from a biomedical database
  • In depth study of a medical instrumentation application
    A project of this type must provide an in depth investigation of the scientific literature for a specific application. Students must ensure their report is comprehensive and synthesizes information from multiple sources. Reports which simply follow one primary reference will not be worth high marks.

Course Outline

Date   Activity  
Sept. 14   Introduction,
Measurement systems (ch 1) − Slides #1,
Overview of basic sensors (ch 2) − Slides #2, Slides #2a, Slides #3
Sept. 21 Oct. 5
  Overview of electrical safety (ch 14) − Slides #4,
Bioelectrical signals (EMG, ECG, EEG) (ch 4) − Slides #5, Slides #6, Slides #7, Slides #8
Sept. 28   Biomed Signals Lab. (Minto 6070)
− Use of CleveMed equipment:
− Equipement: pneumotach, electrode amplifiers, force, pulse oxymeter, blood pressure, stethoscope
− Use of NI amplifiers, filtering, 60Hz notch, AC vs DC preamp
− Measurements: ECG + exercise, EMG with reflex response,
Labs from undergrad instrumentation course (username is "sysc4203" passwd is same): ECG, EMG.
Oct. 12
  Thanksgiving holiday (no class)
Oct. 19
  Electrodes (ch 5) − Slides #9,
Biopotential Amplifiers (ch 3,6) − Slides #10, Slides #11, Slides #12, AD620 [Analog Devices] INA128 [Texas Instruments]
Oct. 26 Nov. 2
  Measurement of blood pressure and sound (ch 7) − Slides #13, Slides #14, Slides #15, Slides #16, Slides #17, Slides #18,
Nov. 9
  Measurement of blood flow, volume (ch 8); Photoplethysmography and pulse oxymetry
Slides #19, Slides #20, Slides #21, Slides #22,
Nov. 16 Nov. 23
  Measurement of Respiratory system (ch 9)
Slides #23, Slides #24, Slides #25, Slides #26, Slides #27,
Nov. 30 Dec. 7   QRS Detection: Slides #28, Electrical Impedance Tomography, Project Presentations
Dec. 11   Review Class: 10h00−12h00: CO210, Project reports due:
Dec. 14   Final Exam: 13h00−16h00 in LA A620

Last Updated: $Date: 2023/01/10 14:28:58 $