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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


The course aims to provide fundamental knowledge on the principles underlying the correct acquisition and processing of biomedical signals, transversal with respect to the different recording instruments for biopotentials and other biomedical signals. The contents of the course contribute to form the skills required of the student for the correct setting of the instruments, the measurement setup, the acquisition and signal analysis parameters and for the resolution of problems that may be encountered in an electrophysiological measurement. This also includes knowledge of those regulatory and electrical safety aspects that are essential for the safe use of electro-medical devices. The electrocardiogram, the measurement of blood pressure and blood oxygenation will be also introduced.

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING: At the end of the course, the student is expected to know:
- The main technologies for the biomedical sensors of interest to the neurophysiopathology technician
- The basic principles of electromagnetism associated with the registration of biopotentials
- The concept of differential amplifier
- Analog and digital signals and their representation in time and frequency
- Sampling of signals and their digitalization
- The problems associated with the acquisition of electrophysiological signals
- The basic approaches for the analysis and processing of signals in time and frequency
- Classifications of medical devices, electromedical instruments and medical rooms
- The protections for the patient and for the device
- The electrophysiological and instrumental aspects associated with the recording of the electrocardiogram and other vital signs
APPLICATION SKILLS: At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:
- Recognize functions and limitations of different sensor technologies for biomedical applications
- Apply the principles of biolectromagnetism to the study of the acquisition of different types of electrophysiological signals
- Apply the basic concepts on differential amplifiers to the study of electromedical instrumentation
- Apply simple methods of signal analysis using software tools
- Optimize signal acquisition setups
- Identify the characteristics of the electromedical instrumentation in use
- Assess the electrical risks associated with the use of electromedical equipments and the appropriate protections
- Apply the basic knowledge about electrocardiography
AUTONOMY OF JUDGMENT: At the end of the course the student is expected to be able to evaluate the pros and cons of various practical solutions associated with the acquisition of electrophysiological signals, to read and critically evaluate the temporal and spectral characteristics of the signals, choosing appropriate approaches to the minimization of disturbances and to critically evaluate and guide the choices in relation to the adoption of electromedical devices according to the application of interest.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS: At the end of the course the student is expected to have acquired adequate language properties in relation to the course contents, in order to be understood without misunderstanding by an interlocutor with adequate technical knowledge, and to convey the concepts essential even to a non-technically competent interlocutor.
LEARNING SKILLS: At the end of the course, the student is expected to have the knowledge and methodologies necessary to further study the electromedical equipments for specific applications, the problems associated with their use and the best operating conditions.


Knowledge of the topics covered in the preparatory Biophysics module is required. Basic skills in chemistry and redox reactions.
Knowledge and skills acquired in Biophysics courses are required.
Knowledge and skills acquired in the Biophysics courses and in the Electronic and Computer Bioengineering module are required.


• Resistive, capacitive and inductive sensors for biomedical applications
• Piezoelectric sensors for biomedical applications
• Thermocouples and thermistors
• Semiconductors, PN junction, diodes and photodiodes
• Electrodes for biopotentials
• Electrode-electrolyte interface
• Electrode-skin interface
• Polarizable and non-polarizable electrodes in the biomedical field
• Gold and Ag / AgCl electrodes
• Bioelectromagnetism: distributed and localized sources
• Conduction volume
• Single dipole model for some bioelectric sources and its limits
• Ideal operational amplifiers and basic configuration analysis

• Concept of signal, typologies and domain of representation
• Time-domain signal analysis (visual inspection, ensemble and time averages, correlation analysis)
• Analysis of the signal in the frequency domain (Fourier analysis and spectrum)
• Sampling and quantization, aliasing
• The signal acquisition chain
• Frequency analysis of sampled signals
• Analog and digital filters, ideal types and real filters
• Differential measurements and interference, physiological and instrumental
• Methods for reducing interference

• Characteristics of an instrument for biomedical measurements
• Types of measures (direct / indirect, invasive / non-invasive, active / passive, ...)
• Medical devices, electromedical instruments and reference norms
• Classification of medical devices
• Electrical risk and physiological effects of electricity, microshock and macroshock
• Electrical safety classes
• B, BF, CF applied parts
• Circuits for patient protection
• Circuits for the protection of the bio-amplifier
• Rooms for medical use
• Electrocardiography
• Direct and inverse problem
• Implantable and external devices for electrocardiography
• Photoplethysmography, pulse oximetry and blood pressure measurement
• Measurement of electrode-skin contact impedance for lead-off detection and direct quantification purposes

Teaching Methods

Lectures with examples, computer-guided experiences and making use of real instrumentation aimed at the acquisition of electrophysiological signals, with practical examples of the concepts explained.
Teaching will be delivered mainly face to face, integrated and "augmented" with online strategies, in order to guarantee its use in an innovative and inclusive way.

Verification of learning

The number of exam sessions is defined in accordance with the Faculty regulations. Extra exams for outside prescribed time students can be requested to the lecturers for justified reasons.
The integrated course includes a joint oral test on the three course modules. During the test, questions will be asked to evaluate the candidates' ability to express themselves correctly in relation to the subject, their ability to expose the concepts presented and to apply their knowledge to simple problems presented to the candidate during the test in form of exercises.
The evaluation is objective, defined on the basis of the correctness percentage of each answer (which is associated with a fixed score, not known to the candidate, based on the level of difficulty). The final grade will be decided by the examination committee based on the results obtained in the three modules. The evaluation will be expressed out of thirty.


Lecture notes of the course, provided free of charge to students through the course website. For further information, you can consult the following texts:
John G. Webster "Medical instrumentation. Design and applications", WILEY

More Information

How to register to the exams: online registration on the University website
Attendance obligation: 67% of attendance signatures/presence count via e-learning platforms

Questionnaire and social

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