Proceedings of the 4th National Conference; INDIACom-2010 Computing For Nation Development, February 25 – 26, 2010 Bharati Vidyapeeth’s

Institute of Computer Applications and Management, New Delhi

Virtual Instrumentation For Bio-Medical Applications
Mohd. Rihan1 and Arti Agarwal2 1,2 Electrical Engineering Department, AMU, Aligarh, E-Mail:
ABSTRACT The traditional hardware instrumentation systems are limited in their versatility because of their hard-coded function. They are completely specific to their stimulus, analysis or measurement function. In this paper we present an overview of Virtual Instrumentation (VI) which is primarily a fundamental shift from traditional hardware-centered instrumentation systems to software centered system offering several benefits to engineers and scientists who require increased productivity, accuracy and performance. The implementation of measurement using VI; its basic components and applications are described below. KEYWORDS Virtual Instrumentation, Bio Medical Instrumentation 1. INTRODUCTION: Measurement is central to the work of engineers and scientists. It is part of the language they use to communicate with each other and to understand the world. It consists of 3 partsacquisition of measurement data, conditioning and processing of analysis of measurement signals and presentation of data. Measurements are important for calculation, precision and to compare and predict many events. These measurements are done with the help of an instrument which is designed to collect data from an environment and to display information to a user. Historically, instrumentation systems were originated in the distant past. A few hundred years ago, we didn’t have any convincing knowledge of electrical field. Then the work of Ohm, Oersted, Ampere Watt and others were introduced who defined parameters such as voltage, current and power. The measuring instruments became more precise as the technology improved. The electronics age began with vacuum tubes, radios and TV. Soon the modifications were made in the instrumentation system with the introduction of relays with further addition of rate detectors and finally integrators, creating the PID control system. It soon became fashionable to include computation capacity in devices such as transducer linearizers, fourier transformers, graphing and display drivers .It became normal for a measuring instrument to accept a signal, condition the input and then digitize the result. The speed and capability of general-purpose computers advanced exponentially making them suitable for online applications required in real time measurement and control. So, the general –purpose computers could become part of instruments. A major accomplishment was the improved user-interface operations with the Window- type software. But to cut down the cost of such system the consumer could use his/her own computer and computational capability and the manufacturer could supply only what the user could not get in the market – the virtual instrument[1]. So, the virtual instrument is one that exists in function but not in actual form. It is composed of some specialized subunits, general purpose comp. and some software. Traditional instruments such as oscilloscopes and waveform generators are very powerful and expensive which are designed to perform one or more specific tasks. The knobs and buttons, built-in circuitry and the functions are all specific to the nature of the instrument. It might contain an integrated circuit to perform a particular set of data processing functions. VI; on the other hand being PC based takes the advantage of the benefits from the latest technology. This includes powerful processors such as the Pentium 4 and operating systems and technologies like Microsoft Windows XP. They also offer easy access to powerful tools such as the internet. Because of the application software installed on the PC and the wide range of plug-in hardware it offers a wide range of flexibility without replacing the entire device as per the changing requirement, needs and applications. With VI, engineers and scientists build measurement and automation systems, that suit their needs exactly (user-defined), instead of being limited by traditional fixed function instrument (vendor-defined)[2]. 2. SALIENT FEATURES AND APPLICATIONS OF VI: Virtual instrumentation refers to the use of general purpose computers and workstations, in combination with data collection hardware devices, and virtual instrumentation software to construct on integrated instrumentation system. Figure shows a block diagram of a system where the physical signal is converted to electrical signal by means of a sensor which is conditioned further and finally transformed to digital form by A/D converter. The digital data can be stored, processed, mixed or compared as per the requirement. Finally, it can be displayed and converted back to analog form. All the processing operations can be found in modern std. PC. The various parts of VI can be separated using high-speed internet programming. So it can be observed that a Virtual Instrument does not exist physically in the block diagram; instead it exists only in function[1]. 2.1 COMPONENTS OF A VIRTUAL INSTRUMENT The virtual instrumentation system basically consists of following components [3]: 2.1.1 Computer & Display: They are the heart of VI system. It is important for the chosen computer to meet the system requirements specified by the instrumentation software package. Moving from DOS to

(iii) PC-bus. BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS: VI is being increasingly accepted in biomedical field. 3. device drivers perform the actual communication and control of the instrument hardware in the system. To measure the real world there will always be some sort of measurement hardware. process control sectors and textiles. transducer and conditioning circuit. Other popular tools are Lab Windows /CVI. real and reactive power (e) ability to interpret the data graphically. such as canine cardiovascular pressure measurements. (a)register level software. These systems are openloop systems. used as a basis for real-time alerts and interactive alarms.2 Software: It is the brain of VI system.(b)opening the architecture of instruments (c)widespread recognition and adoption of VI software development frameworks. In this task. It can further be divided into several levels. Monitoring and pattern recognition of biomedical signals may also be used outside biomedical field.3 Interconnect Buses: The buses connect the computer with the instrument hardware. Biomedical applications of VI can be broadly classified in four categories . with medical systems implemented as virtual instruments. The future of VI is tightly coupled with PC technology.(3)Training and education. (d) real-time display of waveforms. defense. Nowadays. telecommunications.VI offers great possibilities for education and improving the skills of physicians. It uniquely defines the functionality and personality of the VI system. best suited for creating small. Primarily. Many active research projects explore biomedical applications of VI. it allows dual use of instrument offering a flexible cable through which upto 15 instruments can be connected to a PC. as the patient is just an object of monitoring. where a sensor part is connected to the physician through a telecommunication network.4 Instrument Hardware: VI never eliminates the instrument hardware completely. where a physician does online or offline examination of patient measurements. (1) Examination. VI solutions are becoming a part of standard medical examination procedures. PROS:  Increased flexibility  Saves time and money  Faster development  Better Investment  Easier solutions  Complete environment  Numerous add-on software products CONS:  Complicated system  Requires skilled programmer Figure 1: Block Diagram of a Virtual Instrument 2. Test Point and Measurement Studio. or 3D posture measurement in dental applications. sensor. some process continually tracks the measured data. INDIACom-2010 windows gave to PC users the graphical user interface. cardiopulmonary dynamics measurements or examination of spontaneous cardiac arrhythinia[4].Proceedings of the 4thNational Conference. in affective computing[5]. four types of interconnect buses dominate the industry (i) Serial port. Design of monitoring systems is a complex process as many real-time requirements have to be fulfilled. (iv) VXI bus. LAB VIEW (Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench) is the highly productive graphical programming language for building data acquisition and instrumentation system. phasor diagrams. perform analysis & act upon detection of some pattern. it is simplest way of using a computer which allows only one device to be connected to a PC. 2. inexpensive acquisition system. where a virtual instrument simulate or playback earlier measured signals. The computer generated models allow training and education of operator without the actual use of sensors . PC-based non invasive measurement of the autonomic nervous system used to detect the onset of diabetic autonomic neuropathy.1. functionality with computers. It can be made directly in contact with the patient. These systems are also open-loop systems. which requires the knowledge of inner register structure of the device & the resulting program is strongly hardware dependent. Other examples include the VI evaluation system for fiberoptic endoscopes. or indirectly. automobiles. 2.(c)high-level tool software.(2)Monitoring. for example.(b)driver level software. (ii) GPIB.1. 2. (a)enhancing traditional instruments Virtual instrument mainly finds its applications in Bio-medical instrumentation. These systems are more autonomous as compared to examination systems.1. research & design.2APPLICATIONS OF VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTATION The main representative feature of VI describing their functionality are. HP VEE. combines many of the advantages of GPIB and computer backplane buses.

[5].2004. 237-240. the training experience does not differ much from the real-world measurements. the resulting EEG is presented in real-time as abstract images to help in ameliorating these disorders[6]. measured signals are presented back to a patient in real-time. In these applications.B. Instead of using several stand-alone instruments for multiple measurement types and performing rudimentary analysis by hand.(4)Biofeedback. with engineers and scientists using ‘virtual instruments’ in hundreds of thousand of applications around the world[7]. July 1997. A position of the pointer on a display is a function of subject’s EEG signals. 16-18(1999). Interfaces in existing biofeedback applications range from interactive 2D graphical tasks to real-world physical tasks. [2]. VI is coming of age. encouraging patients to persist when there is a physical response to therapy. Figure 2: Simple EEG based Biofeedback System Figure shows a multimodal interface for simple EEG-based biofeedback system. and depression. ]OLANSEN J. Next generation virtual instrumentation tools need to include networking technology for quick and easy integration of Bluetooth. LABVIEW provides powerful tools and a familiar development environment for the design of VI. H. [7].J. the difference between patient’s current state and the pre-recorded state is shown on a display as a pointer deviation. such as human anatomy. E: The Future of Virtual Instrumentation.: Virtual Instrumentation and Distributed Measurement Systems. 55. For example..Virtual Instrumentation For Bio-Medical Applications which helps in reducing the cost and duration of training. Sensors.: Virtual Instruments and Virtual Environments. Clinical.. anxiety. IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine Vol. H. 5. For example. December 2000. 14-19. 2. REFERENCES [1]. Prentice Hall Inc. 2001. SMIESKO V. physical rehabilitation biofeedback systems can amplify weak muscle signals.VI may also be integrated with many virtual reality based applications for education and training. 1999. The wave of commercial technology advances will continue. which is a virtual environment designed to support the teaching and learning of complex 3D structures. FUTURE SCOPE Today.W. Journal of Electrical Engineering. “Neural Interfaces Link the Mind and the Machine”. Later on. CONCLUSION VI has led to a simpler way of looking at measurement systems. addictions.the PC and its related technologies will be at centre.-KOVAC K.60-65(2002) [6].. GOLDBERG. Computer 32(1). Hofman developed visualizeR . [3]. wireless Ethernet and other standards. 6. These are closed loop systems that detect biomedical changes to facilitate change of user’s state. and Healthcare Applications in Lab VIEW”. therefore . as VI becomes commonplace. playback earlier measured data. 4.”Electrophysiologically Interactive Computer Systems”. CHARLES J. & ROSOW E. Since the same virtual instrument can work online. It would not be surprise of the prefix virtual soon disappear. ALLANSON J.Computer 35(3). No one can predict exactly where the future will take VI but one thing is clear . In the training session. engineers can quickly and cost-effectively create a system equipped with analysis software and a single measurement device that has the capabilities of a multitude of instruments. “Virtual BioInstrumentation: Biomedical.: What is Virtual Instrumentation? IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine. physician records patient’s EEG that represents the referential state.NO 1-2. McCONNELL. SPOEDLER. VOL. Healthcare providers are increasingly using brainwave biofeedback or neurofeedback as part of the treatment of growing range of psychophysiological disorders. or simulate any clinical situation. The subjects are trained to move the needle or to keep it on some value .pg 50-56 [4].