Optical sensing in bioinstrumentation

Prof. Dr. Andrew Taberner

Auckland Bioengineering Institute at University of Auckland, New Zealand

Optical sensors and techniques are used widely in many areas of instrumentation and measurement. Optical sensors are often, conveniently, ‘non-contact’ and thus impose negligible disturbance of the parameter undergoing measurement. Valuable information can be represented and recorded in space, time and optical wavelength. They can provide exceptionally high spatial and/or temporal resolution, high bandwidth, and range. Moreover, optical sensors can be very inexpensive and
relatively simple to use.

At the Bioinstrumentation Lab at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, we are particularly interested in developing techniques for measuring parameters from and inside and outside the body. Such measurements help us to quantify physiological performance, detect and treat disease, and develop novel medical and scientific instruments. In making such measurements we often draw upon and develop our own optical sensing and measurement methods – from interferometry, fluorimetry and diffuse light imaging, through to area-based and volume-based optical imaging and processing techniques.

In this talk, I will overview some of the new interesting optically-based methods that we have recently developed for use in bioengineering applications. These include 1) diffuse optical imaging methods for monitoring the depth of a drug as it is rapidly injected through the skin, without requiring a needle; 2) stretchy soft optical sensors for measuring strains of up to several 100 % during movement; 3) multicamera
image registration techniques for measuring the 3D shape and strain of soft tissues; 4) optical coherence tomography techniques for detecting the 3D shape of deforming muscle tissues, and 5) polarisation sensitive imaging techniques for classifying the optical and mechanical properties of biological membranes.

While these techniques sensors and techniques have been motivated by our own applications in bioengineering, the underlying principles have broad application to other areas of instrumentation and measurement.

Short Biography

Andrew Taberner is a physicist and bioengineer, and Associate Professor with the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at University of Auckland, New Zealand. From 2002-2008 he was a research scientist and co-manager of the Bioinstrumentation Laboratory at MIT (Boston). Andrew teaches Bioinstrumentation and Measurement in Biomedical Engineering. His teaching has been recognized by five “Top-teacher”
awards, and a ‘Sustained Excellence in Teaching’ award. He leads researchers in the design, construction and development of novel instruments and medical devices. He has supervised 29 PhD, 18 ME and 62 honours students. Andrew has authored more than 140 refereed scientific articles in journals and published conference proceedings, 115 conference abstracts, and published 27 issued US, European and other patents. He received the 2014 New Zealand “Innovation Excellence in Research” awards. He is the Chair of the New Zealand Chapter of the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society, and an editor for IEEE EMBS Pulse Magazine.