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AMME5995: Advanced Bionics (2018 - Semester 1)

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Unit: AMME5995: Advanced Bionics (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Aerospace, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Prof Suaning, Gregg
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: AMME5921 OR MECH3921.
Prohibitions: AMME5951.
Brief Handbook Description: The field of 'bionics' is one of the primary embodiments of biomedical engineering. In the context of this unit, bionics is defined as a collection of therapeutic devices implanted into the body to restore or enhance functions lost through disease, developmental anomaly, or injury. Most typically, bionic devices intervene with the nervous system and aim to control neural activity through the delivery of electrical impulses. An example of this is a cochlear implant which delivers electrical impulses to physiologically excite surviving neurons of the auditory system, providing the capacity to elicit the psychological perception of sound.

This unit primarily focuses upon the replacement of human senses, the nature and transduction of signals acquired, and how these ultimately effect neural activity.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Tutor/s: Greg Watkins
Timetable: AMME5995 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 1 13
2 Laboratory 2.00 1 11
3 Independent Study 5.00 1 13
T&L Activities: The unit is structured around the major elements of implantable bionic devices and the underlying principles and technologies for therapeutic implants. Teaching delivery methods are a combination of lectures and complementary laboratories that support lecture material. Frequent quizzes aim to assist the student in maintaining up-to-date intake of unit material. Each student will also participate in an independent project relating to implantable bionics and a 'design and build' project where a neuro-stimulator will be produced.

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
This unit focuses on practical implementation and hands-on assessment of implantable medical devices in a biomedical engineering context. The unit will build on the engineering and science fundamentals that the students already have (electronics, biology, chemistry, materials science, and engineering design) and apply them to implantable devices. (2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 3)
Students will be given problems to solve that will require critical thinking, drawing from background knowledge, and creativity to achieve learning outcomes that relate to the form and function of implantable medical devices. (3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 5)
Students will develop proficiency in the design cycle through an illustrative example of a power-supply circuit board for the supply of energy and data to an implantable device. This is a `design and build` project that the students begin from scratch and conclude with functional device. (4) Design (Level 4)
Students will work as a team to produce a video presentation of their results in a team exercise relating to sound or vision processing for neuroprostheses. (7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
The ethics of bionics is an interactive discussion that covers the issues that the biomedical engineer faces in decision making and design considerations relating to medical devices. (8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
1. Work together in small groups to test sound or vision processing algorithms and present the outcomes in a video format.
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3)
2. Participate in discussion and material relating to the ethics of bionics
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 5)
3. Create a printed circuit board with broad guidelines in the project definition thus allowing the student broad scope to include problem solving and inventiveness.
(4) Design (Level 4)
4. Design and construct a means of transferring energy across tissue without wires in the form of a printed circuit board and inductively-coupled circuitry to drive and assess a neuro-stimulation circuit.
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 3)
5. Apply engineering principles to answer questions relating to implantable bionics in a quiz format
6. Apply engineering principles to answer questions relating to implantable bionics in an examination format
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Quiz 1 No 5.00 Week 2 (Friday, 10 am) 5,
2 Quiz 2 No 5.00 Week 5 (Monday, 2 pm) 5,
3 Quiz 3 No 5.00 Week 6 (Friday, 10 am) 5,
4 Quiz 4 No 5.00 Week 8 (Friday, 10 am) 5,
5 Quiz 5 (will be in given LABORATORY session) No 5.00 Week 11 (Friday, 10 am) 5,
6 A1: PCB Layout (Deferred Mark) No 0.00 Week 4 (Monday, 4 pm) 3,
7 A2: Sound/Vision Processing for Neuroprostheses Yes 10.00 Week 9 (Monday, 4 pm) 1,
8 A3: Sensory Implant Functionality (in LAB sess.) No 20.00 Week 12 (Monday, 6 pm) 4,
9 Final Examination No 35.00 Week 13 (Friday, 10 am) 6,
10 Group Presentation Yes 10.00 Week 12 (Friday, 10 am) 1,
Assessment Description: Assignments:

There are three assignments in this unit of study.

The first is the design of a printed circuit board (PCB) that will be professionally manufactured. The mark will be deferred until Assignment 3.

Assignment 2 is an individual report and software on sound processing strategies for cochlear implants and a group presentation on experimental outcomes of a study using the software.

Assignment 3 is a report and functionality demonstration of a neural stimulator that combines the PCB from Assignment 1.

All Assignments will be submitted online (method to be advised) and all written material is subject to scanning for appropriate referencing using, for example, Turnitin.


The unit has five quizzes. Each quiz may contain questions relating to any aspect of the unit up to and including the week prior to the quiz. Quizzes may cover material that includes assignments, laboratories, tutorials and lecture content.


There are weekly laboratories scheduled during the semester to support the lecture material. All of these are compulsory and are examined via the quizzes.
Assessment Feedback: Assessment feedback is by way of written comments on a marking sheet and or verbal comments in discussions with individual students.

Every effort will be made to provide feedback within two weeks of assessment submission. Students are advised that due to the varying workloads of the markers this may not be achievable in all cases.

General feedback will also be provided during the lecture and individual feedback as needed can be provided in scheduled meetings upon request.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Lecture: Introduction to the unit of study

Lecture Topic: Sensory Neuroprostheses
Week 2 Lecture: Activation of Neurons
Lab: Radio Telemetry
Assessment Due: Quiz 1
Assessment Due: Quiz 1
Week 3 Lecture: First Hour- Neuroprosthesis Design (Circuits)

Second Hour - Neuroprosthesis Design (Implants)
Lab: Hermeticity
Assessment Due: A1 – Assignment 1: PCB Layout – required for A3, mark deferred to A3
Lab: Introduction to Sound Processing
Assessment Due: A1: PCB Layout (Deferred Mark)
Week 5 Lecture: Image Processing for Visual Prostheses
Lab: Image Processing for Visual Prostheses
Assessment Due: Quiz 2
Week 6 Lecture: Sound Processing for Auditory Prostheses
Lab: Project Definition
Assessment Due: Quiz 3
Week 7 Lecture: Data Acquisition and Analysis
Lab: Open Lab (Neurostimulator)
Week 8 Lecture: Electrodes and Electrochemistry
Lab: Open Lab (Neurostimulator)
Assessment Due: Quiz 4
Week 9 Lecture: The Ethics of Bionics - Interactive Discussion
Lab: Open Lab (Neurostimulator)
Assessment Due: A2: Sound/Vision Processing for Neuroprostheses
Week 10 Lecture: ISO13485
Lab: Implant Functionality Testing
Week 11 Lecture: Self-study - completion of implant functionality
Lab: Electrochemistry and Waveforms
Assessment Due: Quiz 5 (will be in given LABORATORY session)
Week 12 Lecture: Presentations
Lab: Implant Functionality Assessment
Assessment Due: A3: Sensory Implant Functionality (in LAB sess.)
Assessment Due: Group Presentation
Week 13 Assessment Due: Final Examination

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Biomedical Engineering / Law 2013, 2014
Biomedical Engineering / Arts 2013, 2014
Biomedical Engineering / Commerce 2013, 2014
Biomedical Engineering / Medical Science 2013, 2014
Biomedical Engineering / Project Management 2013, 2014
Biomedical Engineering / Science 2013, 2014
Biomedical Mid-Year 2016, 2017, 2018
Biomedical / Arts 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Biomedical / Commerce 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Biomedical / Medical Science 2015, 2016, 2017
Biomedical / Music Studies 2016, 2017
Biomedical / Project Management 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Biomedical /Science 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Biomedical / Science (Health) 2018
Biomedical - Chemical and Biomolecular Major 2015
Biomedical - Electrical Major 2015
Biomedical - Information Technology Major 2015
Biomedical / Law 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Biomedical - Mechanical Major 2015
Biomedical - Mechatronics Major 2015
Biomedical / Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018
Master of Engineering (2024 and earlier) 2016, 2017, 2018
Master of Professional Engineering (Biomedical) 2016, 2017, 2018

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) Yes 20%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3) Yes 0%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 5) Yes 0%
(4) Design (Level 4) Yes 20%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 3) Yes 60%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.