My Life as a Test Subject

Several weeks ago I briefly mentioned how I had been involved in some testing for forensic engineering by stabbing foam blocks with various implements. The latter half of last week I participated in some testing for bioengineering. One of my housemates is currently undertaking a project focused on EEG (Electroencephalography) and visual perception and needed test subjects. This involved measuring electrical brain activity as the guinea pig, yours truly, viewed various flashing symbols on a computer screen. The computer screen is viewed through a stereoscope so that a relationship can be determined between the eye detecting the image and the area of the brain with the resultant electrical activity. The electrodes for the EEG were attached to the head by use of a special rubber hat, somewhat resembling a swim cap, and electrode gel. After two hours pressing buttons and looking at a screen in a darkened room I was able to leave, but not before washing my hair.

Throughout my undergraduate I’ve had little exposure to bioengineering, although it is available for selection during 3rd year project work. It is only now that I am undertaking a module entitled “Introduction to Biomedical Engineering” which covers a huge range of introductory material on various biomedical topics such as bioinstrumentation and ECG signal analysis. It has drawn largely upon topics introduced in the electrical and electronic spectrum and, although interesting, has a very different focus to the other modules I am taking this year. I wonder if my degree would have gone differently if I had undertaken a bioengineering project, it all seems a little late to develop a new engineering interest though as I am at the end of my degree.

After the morning spent helping someone else with their project I spent time in the materials lab working with my 4th year group as deadlines are approaching. This was the same day that the Queen was visiting the City and I was fortunate enough to catch sight of her, and her helicopter, in a field nearby the University. The day ended with a trip to the Leicester beer festival with the Real Ale Society and this blog will end with a full stop.

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About Matthew

Matthew graduated from the University of Leicester in Summer 2012 and is no longer blogging for this site.

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