ECE 5030

ECG recording on the arm.


In this assignment you will build a device to measure electrocardiogram using electrodes attached only to the left arm.


You will need an isolated power supply, an analog signal isolator, a differential amplifier and analog filters (as in the EMG measurement) but will add an appropriate circuitry to record ECG, as described in several papers. Electrodes may be capacitive or conductive. You will probably need to add a ground driver circuit. Read the references below and come up with a design.

A matlab program can be used to test filter techniques. The program simulates a QRS wave, then low pass, high pass, and LMS notch filter. The LMS filter is narrow band and only works for one frequency near 60 Hz. Adding four taps allows surpression of third harmonic distortion also. A more general n-tap LMS filter is shown in this program will surpress broadband interference.

You can also do you own searches. Useful search terms are:

More information:

Novel dry electrodes for ECG monitoring, Anna Gruetzmann, Stefan Hansen and Jorg Muller ,
Physiol. Meas. 28 (2007) 1375–1390 (pdf)

A Low-Noise, Non-Contact EEG/ECG Sensor, Thomas J. Sullivan, Stephen R. Deiss, and Gert Cauwenberghs (pdf)
Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference, 2007. BIOCAS 2007. IEEE

Design of a Gel-less Two-Electrode ECG Monitor, Emile Richard, Adrian D. C. Chan,
Medical Measurements and Applications Proceedings , April 30 2010-May 1 2010 (CU library link)

Study of Single-Arm Electrode for ECG Measurement Using Flexible Print Circuit,
Hung-Chi Yang, Tsung-Fu Chien, Shang-Hao Liu, Hsuan-Han Chiang (pdf)

Development and Evaluation of One Arm Electrode Based ECG Measurement System, Manne Hannula, H. Hinkula, J. Jauhiainen
14th Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics IFMBE Proceedings Volume 20, 2008, pp 234-237 (pdf)

Wireless Non-contact Cardiac and Neural Monitoring, Yu M. Chi, Patrick Ng, Eric Kang, Joseph Kang, Jennifer Fang, Gert Cauwenberghs
WH '10 Wireless Health 2010 Pages 15-23 (pdf)

Non-contact Low Power EEG/ECG Electrode for High Density Wearable Biopotential Sensor Networks,
Yu M. Chi, Stephen R. Deiss and Gert Cauwenberghs, 2009 Body Sensor Networks (pdf)

Capacitive Sensing of Narrow-Band ECG and Breathing Activity of Infants through Sleepwear, (pdf)
Akinori Ueno, Tatsuya Imai, Daisuke Kowada and Yoshihiro Yama
"Biomedical Engineering", Chapter 21 book edited by Carlos Alexandre Barros de Mello, ISBN 978-953-307-013-1

Active Capacitive Sensing: Exploring a New Wearable Sensing Modality for Activity Recognition,
Jingyuan Cheng, Oliver Amft, and Paul Lukowicz, Pervasive 2010, LNCS 6030, pp. 319–336, 2010 (pdf)

Totally passive wireless biopotential measurement sensor by utilizing inductively coupled resonance circuits
J. Riistama, E. Aittokallio, J. Verho, J. Lekkala, Sensors and Actuators A 157 (2010) 313–321 (CU library link)

Plessy semiconductor EPIC sensor. At this web page choose: Products>EPIC>Application notes

A Real-Time QRS Detection Algorithm, JIAPU PAN AND WILLIS J. TOMPKINS, (CU library link)

The Principles of Software QRS Detection, Reviw and compare algorithms,
Bert-Uwe Köhler, Carsten Hennig, Reinhold Orglmeister (CU library link)

Chapter 4 -- Event Detection, Dr. Bülent Yilmaz

Analysis of First-Derivative Based QRS Detection Algorithms

A Real-Time Microprocessor QRS Detector System with a 1-ms Timing Accuracy for the Measurement of Ambulatory HRV


  1. Build a circuit to safely record ECG from the left arm. The circuit should be isolated from earth ground and should be based on the assigned reading.
  2. You may need to do considerable digital filtering to remove noise.
  3. Use the USB-6008 to connect the circuit to your computer.
    Write a matlab program to:
    1. Record the resulting waveform as you did in lab 3 using a scrolling display.
    2. Digital filter with GUI settable high pass and low pass filtering and optional notch filter for 60 Hz. The high/lowpass filters should be compatable with Pan_Tompkins detection.
    3. Plot a red dot above each detected QRS complex (on the ECG trace) to evaulate detection accuracy.
    4. Determine heart rate and plot it in real time as reciprocal of the last beat interval. Rate should be determined by the Pan_Tompkins algorithm.
  4. Record your ECG for at least 10 minutes and save the result to a file.
  5. Using the Pan-Tompkins method (with a simple, fixed threshold), compute the distribution of duration of individual beats in the file.

Your written lab report should include the sections mentioned in the policy page, and :

  1. Estimates of signal to noise ratio, filter artifacts, and other electronic considerations.
  2. Comparision of you waveform with published ECG.
  3. Observations concerning biological effects, such as electrode position or other effects.

March 20, 2013 Copyright Cornell university