Published in Proceedings of the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Honolulu, HI, June 24, 2007. 4 pages. Copyright © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education.
Circuit simulators, such as SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) are useful tools that can enhance the educational experience of students in many subject areas within a biomedical engineering curriculum. Courses on biomedical instrumentation are venues for which virtual laboratory experiments, using circuit simulators, can be readily developed. The instructor can use the circuit simulation platform to illustrate relatively complex concepts, such as differential amplification, which have wide applicability to biomedical instrumentation.
More advanced courses that focus on the physiology of excitable cells or neural modeling and simulation are also venues for which circuit simulators may be applied to study the dynamics of related physiological models such as the Hodgkin-Huxley model. The equivalent circuit paradigm provides the student with an alternative to developing an understanding of complex physiological models. Application of SPICE based circuit simulators for neural modeling and simulation require the development of excitable membrane equivalent circuit models. Such models have been implemented by the author using SPICE primitive circuit elements in the form of a netlist sub-circuit. More advanced approaches have involved the implementation of neuron models using the SPICE code model paradigm. This alternative approach facilitates the implementation of the neuron model whereby it can be referenced from within a SPICE netlist program in the same way as any other device model would be referenced.
At California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly), students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are exposed to circuit simulation tools that are integrated into the course content as virtual labs in the biomedical engineering instrumentation course. More advanced courses at CalPoly in neural modeling and simulation also make use of the SPICE circuit simulation platform.
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering