Biomedical Systems and Devices

Biomedical Systems and Devices Research

Bioelectronics is a multidisciplinary field involving the application of electronics engineering concepts to biology, medicine and healthcare science. The major activities in the field of bioelectronics relate to the development of biosensors that transduce biorecognition or biocatalytic processes in the form of electronic signals. Exciting opportunities exist in the electrical interfacing of biological substances with semiconductor microstructures. Graduate students in our electrical engineering program learn various instrumentation and sensing technology in biomedical engineering field.

The UW Bothell EE graduate curriculum includes courses on acoustical engineering fundamentals and medical devices, and biomedical devices and instrumentation. B EE 531 and B EE 532 cover basic and advanced concepts in underwater acoustics and medical ultrasound systems. B EE 531 gives students a means of estimating important ultrasound parameters using numerical simulations, algebraic techniques, and laboratory-based measurements; and B EE 532 covers the analysis of advanced applications of diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound systems to the brain and to the peripheral tissue using algebraic estimation of physical forces exerted by ultrasound and of associated biological responses. B EE 533 introduces the analysis of biomedical devices and instrumentation to acquire a biosignal, FDA regulation consideration, and medical imaging and signal processing including ultrasound imaging. For deeper knowledge, students are encouraged to pursue B EE 600 Independent Study or B EE 700 Thesis with a faculty member.

Career pathways

Experiences from classes in this key focus area of Biomedical Systems and Devices will prepare students for employment in the ultrasound industry in several capacities. Students should be prepared for competitive consideration of employment positions such as:

  • Ultrasound Systems Engineer
  • Software/hardware positions
  • Biomedical Sensors and Devices Engineer
  • Medical Robot Engineer
  • Medical Imaging Systems Engineer

Faculty in Biomedical Systems and Devices

Lawrence Lam

Kaibao Nie

Research at UW Bothell

Dr. Lawrence Lam’s research focuses on medical devices, mobile health technology and MEMS. Dr. Lam is currently researching a couple of small projects that need help from students: 1) 3D printing of optical components and 2) design and construction of optical subsystems. If interested, please get in touch with Dr. Lam for more details.

Dr. Kaibao Nie’s research focuses on signal processing in cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is an electronic device to restore hearing to people with profound hearing loss. It can convert sounds to electrical current pulses for directly stimulating the auditory nerve. The research topics on cochlear implants span a wide range of techniques including noise reduction, speech coding, collection of electrically evoked action potentials, cortical EEG processing and auditory modeling. View a conference paper Dr. Nie coauthored on speech processing in hearing devices, speech perception with cochlear implants, and keywords spotting.

Study Biomedical Systems and Devices

The curriculum reflects depth and breadth of faculty research expertise and provides graduate students with a solid foundation in signal processing and digital image processing. Relevant courses include:

Learning objectives

In this technical area, students will learn:

  • Introduction to the physics of biomedical acoustics and medical ultrasound systems. Students will gain an understanding of the generation and propagation of waves and signal processing used in the primary diagnostic ultrasound imaging modes. Students will learn how an ultrasound imaging system works using algebraic techniques, numerical simulations, and laboratory-based measurements. As part of their work students will design a basic ultrasound device.
  • Analysis of advanced applications of diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound systems will be explored. Algebraic estimation of physical forces exerted by ultrasound and of associated biological responses. Project-based effort leveraging an ultrasound research platform will explore different aspects and new opportunities in ultrasound imaging.
  • Introduction to biopotential signal; design and analysis of biomedical devices and instrumentation to acquire biosignal. FDA regulation consideration; introduction to medical imaging and signal processing including ultrasound imaging. Hardware design and simulations.

Emphasis on project-based learning through class projects

Many of the courses listed above provide class projects that will enhance student learning. Particularly, students in a team-oriented project learn important skills such as collaboration, communication, and presentation.

[B EE 531] Acoustical Engineering: Fundamentals

Ultrasound imaging consists of the transmission and propagation of ultrasound waves into biological mediums, followed by the reception and processing of returning echoes. After gaining a foundational understanding of the physics and signal processing of the primary diagnostic ultrasound imaging modes, students will develop ultrasound sequences in an ultrasound simulation environment and explore different reconstruction approaches. Students will also collect ultrasound data on a research ultrasound platform and reconstruct the resulting ultrasound images.

[B EE 532] Acoustical Engineering: Medical Devices

After completing the foundational elements of ultrasound generation, propagation and reception of B EE 531, more advanced and varied topics of medical ultrasound are explored (e.g., nonlinear propagation and imaging, therapeutic ultrasound, ultrasound molecular imaging). Using an ultrasound research platform, students will have the opportunity to design, optimize and process their own acquisition sequences exploring the possibilities of diagnostic ultrasound.

[B EE 533] Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation

The B EE 533 course project is a review and presentation of current research in biomedical technology and devices. Previous research review papers include COVID-19 detection devices and wearable devices. During the course, students will decide on approved review papers and form student groups of two to four people. They will meet at their own time to finalize the presentation material. After the group presentation, students will get feedback from the instructor and use the feedback to write up a term paper for the project.