Measurements and Sensors in Biomedicine

Higher education teachers: Maček-Lebar Alenka
Credits: 6
Semester: winter
Subject code: 64210

Subject description


In addition to the entry in the current academic year the basic knowledge of the field of measurements and the use of measurement instrumentation is desirable. Study obligations include a complete attendance at laboratory work (exercises) and a positive grade of practical work as well as final exam.

Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Planning and performing of experiments and measurements in medicine and biotechnology. Basic concepts: sources of biomedical signals, types of signals, noise characteristics of the measuring system. Physical and physiological quantities that are measured in medicine and related units. Interesting ways of signals acquisition in nature.
  • The basic physical principles of sensors: resistive, inductive, capacitive, piezoelectric, chemical, optical, ....
  • Measurement of pressure (direct and indirect measurements, the use of catheters).
  • Measurement of blood flow and respiration (electromagnetic, ultrasound, Doppler, plethysmography, indicator dilution techniques and other methods).
  • Measuring of movement, speed, acceleration, force and torque.
  • Measurement of temperature, humidity and heat flow (contact and non-contact measurements, infrared meters).
  • The measurement of bioelectric potentials (electrocardiography, electroencephalography, electromyography), bioimpedance, electrodes.
  • Laboratory and clinical biochemical measuring methods (pH, pO2, blood gas analysis), biosensors.
  • Sources of light and light sensors, sensors based on optical fibres, optical measuring methods (pulse oximetry, laser-Doppler method, near-infrared spectroscopy, etc.).

Objectives and competences:

  • Overview of physical and physiological variables that are most commonly measured in clinical and medical research environment with a strong focus on the specific purposes of their measurement. Understanding of the physical principles, methods of measurement as well as sensors for measuring these quantities in medical diagnostic and research.
  • Acquisition of knowledge and practical experience of qualitative and safe capture of the most common bioelectrical signals that can be captured on the surface of the body (ECG, EMG and EEG) and various types of nonelectric biological signals (eg. optical measurement methods). Basic knowledge of the concepts for measuring chemical parameters and biosensors. Practical experience with measuring methods in the laboratory. Knowledge of the advantages and limitations of the existing measuring methods with the aim of selecting the most appropriate method for a specifical use.

Intended learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge and understanding: Acquaintance with a number of different measuring methods and sensors in medicine and biotechnology. Detailed knowledge of the most important activities and frequently used measuring methods and procedures, including their advantages and limitations. Understanding the physical background of the existing methods of measurement.
  • Qualifying for the practical use of some methods, like measuring biomedical signals in humans and in an isolated lab environment (on cell cultures).
  • Awareness of safety and ethical aspects of the implementation of physiological measurements on humans and animals.
  • Qualifying for the planning and implementation of biomedical measurements in other areas. Proper and critical evaluation of the obtained measurement results. Independent seeking of additional sources of information.

Learning and teaching methods:

  • At the lectures, students learn the theoretical basis and the physical background of the existing measuring methods and sensors along with the purposes and application examples. Familiarization with the procedures for the proper planning, implementation and evaluation of the measuring experiments.
  • At laboratory work, students use sensors that are based on different physical principles, they calibrate them in the selected measurement regions and incorporate them in a simple measurement systems. Gain hands-on experience with the implementation of some selected non-invasive methods of measurement of physiological variables and the use of biochemical measurement methods. Students attend one or more excursions to medical institutions, where practical demonstrations of the use of biomedical measurement instrumentation are held.

Study materials


  1. Wang P, Liu Q. Biomedical Sensors and measurement. Zhejiang University Press, Springer, 2011.
  2. Togawa T, Tamura T, Ake Oberg P. Biomedical Transducers and Instruments. CRC Press, 2011.
  3. Khandpur RS. Biomedical Instrumentation: Technology and Applications. McGraw-Hill, 2004.
  4. Bronzino JD (editor). The Biomedical Engineering Handbook (3rd edition). CRC Press, 2006.
  5. Barth FG, Humphrey JAC, Secomb TW. Sensors and sensing in biology and enginnering. Springer, 2003.

Study in which the course is carried out

  • 1 year - 2nd cycle - Electrical Engineering - Biomedical Engineering