Technology: From Electromagnetic Modeling to Point-of-Care Using Consumer Electronics

Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Modeling for Electrical and Biological Systems Using MATLAB

Edited by Sergey N. Makarov, Gregory M. Noetscher, and Ara Nazarian, Wiley, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-119-05256-2, 648 pages, US$150.

The role of increasingly powerful computers in the modeling and simulation domain has resulted in great advancements in the fields of wireless communications, medicine, and space technology to name a few. In Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Modeling for Electrical and Biological Systems Using MATLAB, the authors start from the fundamental equations that govern low-frequency electromagnetic phenomenon and go through each stage of solving such problems by striking a balance between mathematical rigor and actual implementation in code. The use of MATLAB makes the advanced concepts discussed in the book immediately testable through experiments. The book pays close attention to various applications in an electrical and biological system that are of immediate relevance in today’s world. The use of state-of-the-art human phantom meshes, especially from the Visible Human Project (VHP) of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, makes this text singular in its field. It is my firm belief that this text should be a part of every practicing electrical engineer’s bookshelf.

The text is systematic and very wellorganized in presenting the various topics on low-frequency electromagnetic. I am especially delighted that the first part of this text presents the mathematical theory behind low-frequency electromagnetic modeling and follows it with the topic of meshing. Mesh generation, i.e., the spatial discretization of a physical object, is central to the method of moments technique. The text starts with the basics of meshing and builds it up in an easy-to-read manner with plenty of illustrations. Important concepts such as Delaunay triangulation, smoothing, and adaptive mesh generation are explained and then implemented in MATLAB. The emphasis on human phantoms and the VHP teaches the readers about how such meshes are put together. Particularly impressive is the large array of segmented tissues of the VHP-Female model. All the code files and the data sets have been made available for download from the website.

Part II and part III of this text focus on electrostatic and magnetostatics. The highlight of each of these chapters is the emphasis placed on application examples. The authors take great care in introducing the concept, its theoretical basis, and use a real-world application example to reinforce it. Such an approach provides both the student and practicing engineer an opportunity to understand abstract phenomenon in a relevant context. Furthermore, the accompanying scripts and MATLAB-based modules provide an opportunity for experimentation. Learning through theory and practice is the best way to understand and imbibe a new concept and the chapters in this text stay true to this principle. I found the GUI modules that accompany these chapters easy to understand and a joy to experiment with. My personal favorite was the application example on capacitive touchscreens. We are surrounded by touch-enabled technology. This text and, in particular, chapter 6 unravel the technical details of this technology.

The final section of this book tackles the challenge of modeling the semiconductor PN-junction. I would recommend these two chapters to any graduate student beginning their work in this area. It will equip them with a good understanding of the nonlinear processes that are involved. As with all the chapters that precede it, the mathematical details are balanced with simulation code in MATLAB.

As the only critique, I would mention that the eddy-current model implemented in chapter 12 does not take into account displacement currents (the effect of different dielectric properties of conducting composite tissues/materials). I hope that this issue may be addressed in the next edition of the text.

— Review by Vishwanath Iyer, Mathworks

Medical Instruments and Devices: Principles and Practices

Edited by Steven Schreiner, Joseph D. Bronzino, and Donald R. Peterson, CRC Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781439871454, 320 pages, US$99.95.

I have several reservations regarding this textbook, based upon the publicity material, i.e., part of the text, and the text content. The back cover promotion material begins “Medical Instruments and Devices: Principles and Practices originates from the medical instruments and devices section of The Biomedical Engineering Handbook, Fourth Edition.” At the end of the paragraph beginning with the previous statement, the text continues, “In addition, this text covers in depth:” followed by a listing of ten areas covered by the text. This is followed by a concluding paragraph which states, “An offshoot from the definitive ‘bible’ of biomedical engineering, Medical Instruments and Devices: Principles and Practices offers you state-of-the-art information on biomedical instruments and devices. This text serves practicing professionals working in the areas of medical devices and instrumentation as well as graduate students studying bioengineering, instrumentation, and medical devices, and it provides readers with a practical foundation and a wealth of resources from well-known experts in the field.”

My first impression from the this material was that this text included material from The Biomedical Engineering Handbook and included ten new sections. However, a quick check of the contents of the handbook (also published in 2015) revealed that all 20 chapter titles (and authors) in this text are also in the handbook, specifically in volume 2 of the four-part series. As the current four-volume handbook is listed at US$339.46, this looks to be an overpriced copy of a subsection of the handbook. While it is recognized that publication of a subsection of a complete four-volume handbook is not uncommon, it does the reader a disservice to call it an “offshoot” rather than a copy of a section of the larger text.

Another concern arose when the chapters were reviewed for completeness in terms of being up to date and well referenced. Of the 20 chapters, two chapters have only two listed references, four chapters have only five references, one chapter has six references, one chapter has seven references, and two chapters have eight references, for a median of 9.5 references per chapter. (As one chapter has 454 references, the average here has little meaning!) With a publication date of 2015, one might be inclined to suggest that chapters with references up to within, say, ten years prior to 2015 (2005) might be considered “up to date.” It may be of interest to the reader that the median latest date for references in this text is 2003. Several chapters thus do not qualify as “state of the art.”

— Review by Paul H. King, Vanderbilt University

Mobile Point-of-Care Monitors and Diagnostic Device Design

Edited by Walter Karlen and Krzysztof Iniewski, CRC Press, 2015. ISBN: 978- 1-4665-8929-2, 169 pages, US$99.95.

This eight-chapter textbook with 26 contributors was a pleasant diversion during the three days I could not use my computer as it tried to upgrade to Windows 10 during a vacation in a remote part of Nova Scotia due to slow Wi-Fi connection. If you are considering potential applications in this field, this book may be of value to you.

The first section of the text gives an overview of sensors and systems involved in the field. Chapter 1 is a great introduction to what follows, covering lab-ona- chip technologies and their use with “consumer electronic devices (CEDs)” (aka smartphones, etc.) with and without modification of same. Several examples and discussions of sensing technologies are given, and the chapter concludes with 82 references, completing this overview. The next four chapters give specific information on the chapter authors’ current efforts involving lab-on-a-cell-phone, the phone oximeter, transepidermal waterloss sensors, and ultrasound imaging system design.

Three chapters comprise the “Information Processing and Implementation” section. Chapter 6 covers the application of CEDs for blood-smear analysis for mobile malaria diagnosis. It is a good overview of current efforts and the roadblocks to a widespread implementation. Chapter 7 covers usability engineering for mobile point-of-care devices and addresses U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and International Electrotechnical Commission usability codes; furthermore, it could serve as a good generic chapter for design considerations for this field. Chapter 8 (“Translating Sensor Technology into the Medical Device Environment”) concludes the text with a nice overview of the FDA approval process and discusses some example technologies.

Taken as a whole, this text could be a useful introduction to the field of point-of-care technologies for the student or professional considering development of globally useful, inexpensive diagnostic technologies for the betterment of health care worldwide. While the primary base device for much of this text (and development) is the smartphone, the text is generic enough in approach that other areas of endeavor could be attempted.

— Review by Paul H. King, Vanderbilt University