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Harness your biopotential, or: How to measure a heartbeat in approximately twelve steps

The heart in your chest beats every minute of your life. Accompanying each new beat is an electrical dance whose waves ripple throughout your body. The same is true of every single human being you will ever come across. What you will do is measure those waves between two points in space and thereby detect the exact moment a heart’s muscles contract for a few minutes of someone’s life one fine day.

To do this, you will construct a system, an electrocardiogram, comprising the following: 

Specifically, you will (1) power up a prototyping electronics board to create the system, (2) build an instrumentation amplifier to amplify a signal, (3) construct a filter to remove unwanted noise from the signal, (4) detect a heartbeat from a willing participant, and in the process (5) become a biomedical engineer.


Anatomical Donation

A philosophy of body: II. The Biomedical Landscape