Music from biosignals

Author: Adam De Pierro

De Pierro, Adam, 2019 Music from biosignals, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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The Music from Biosignals project is an exceptionally large project when considering every feature of the system involved. The system itself can be divided into four main subsections:

Phase 1 – Obtain a biosignal

Phase 2 – Transmit biosignal data

Phase 3 – Process the data

Phase 4 – Play the music

To achieve a greater understanding of the entire project, research was conducted into each of the phases. After conducting a review into the existing literature it was found that people had researched into parts of this project, but nobody had pieced them together as this project does.

Using an online set of ECG data, attention can be initially focused on Phase 4 where MATLAB is used to process the data to create music. The first sounds were basic two-tone patterns which developed into an ascending pattern. The code was refined to give these sounds musical meaning. Understanding the differences in pitches between musical notes and the separations in musical scales, equations can be written, and these sounds can be replicated in MATLAB. The code in this case is designed to monitor the mouse cursor on the screen. As the mouse travels along the screen the pitch increases by the equations used for each scale.

As the project progressed, my focus settled on Phase 2. Initial electronics were investigated to determine how the circuitry should be designed. It was through this research that the MAX30003 chip was found which reads in ECG with no additional circuitry.

With a basic understanding of how the system should work, the on-body PCB could now be designed. There were many different aspects to consider in the PCB design process, all of which I had very minimal experience in. There was an incredibly steep learning curve with this entire process and in particular navigating the Altium Designer program. It was eventually found that this process can be split into four main steps:

Step 1 - Build schematic parts

Step 2 - Design footprints for each schematic part

Step 3 - Route schematic

Step 4 - Layout PCB design

Each step took a large amount of time as I developed a better understanding of the design process and continued to rectify errors as they were encountered. After multiple interactions with Engineering Services at Flinders University to ensure the design worked, in the end there was simply not enough time to fix every issue and manufacture the board.

Although there was insufficient time to properly complete the PCB design it was still an incredibly worthwhile learning experience, and the knowledge and confidence gained can be taken and applied to future PCB designs.

Keywords: biosignals, biosignal, music, ECG, electrocardiogram

Subject: Engineering thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2019
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Kenneth Pope