Medical Sensing & Stimulation

First year’s courses:

The first year’s courses of the master MSS aims for the students to reach an advanced level in clinically relevant technology, related to the acquisition, processing, interpretation and actuation of medical signals. Besides these courses, which are described in detail below, the students are also trained in their clinical skills.

Actuation includes the measuring of various biomedical signals. The course “Biomedical Signal Acquisition” provides knowledge of getting biomedical signals with electrical, chemical and physical sensors from the human body. The goal for the students is to learn and understand about the way relevant biomedical signals from the human body can be measured using chemical and physical sensor systems. After this course they are aware of the fundamental operational principles of sensing related to biomedical applications and they can identify the preferred type of sensor for a certain biomedical signal and can mention the do's and don'ts of the first signal processing stage.

Measurement results do not necessarily provide clinically useful information because biomedical signals often have stochastic characteristics and may change significantly during short periods of time (e.g., EEG, ECG, EMG). Using these signals for clinical research or decision making therefore requires understanding and implementation of advanced signal analysis techniques. “Advanced techniques for signal acquisition” focuses on several advanced techniques for the analysis of biomedical signals like artefact removal and parameter estimation algorithms.

Interpretation of biomedical sensing requires thorough knowledge of relevant (patho) physiology. The course “Circulation and Ventilation” integrates the knowledge of the physiology of the cardiovascular and respiratory system which have been studied seperately in the bachelor program, and the systems' approach from technological courses. This knowledge is used to understand the deregulated physiological processes in Intensive Care situations, and how these processes can be monitored and managed using technological means, for example artificial respiratory support. The students have sessions on the full body simulator, study scientific articles about relevant physiology background, and about monitoring and managing critical body functions. ‘Dynamical behaviour of neural networks’ on the other hand, focuses on the physiology and mathematical principles relevant for the understanding of the neural system.

“Identification of Human Motor Control” focuses on the characterization of human motor control for various conditions in a standardized way. System identification makes it possible to look insight the motor control system and identify the underlying cause of motor control disorders. The advantages of the use of system identification techniques are: 1) a better-standardized test; 2) exploiting motor control for a larger range of environmental conditions (motor control behaviour is very adaptive); 3) detect what is wrong. The methods and techniques can be applied to wide range of physiological and technical systems.

Besides acquisition, processing and interpretation, there is an increasing interest in therapies interacting with physiological parameters (actuation). This can be neural (deep brain) stimulation or targeted drugs delivery. The course “Biological Control Systems” concerns the analysis of body functions from a dynamic systems point of view. The course involves theory regarding linear and nonlinear dynamics and control and the analysis of dynamic systems with computational tools like Matlab. The students will apply theory and tools in the dynamic analysis of physiological functions during a project.

Throughout the whole year, students are faced with two clinical cases in which they can integrate the technological and medical theory provided during the different courses. The two cases are presented by clinicians and include technical-medical problems they are currently faced with in clinical practice.