Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Damon Miller

Second Advisor

Steven Durbin


The WMU Neurobiology Laboratory researches the stimulation of biological neurons using control theory principles. The current bulky, rack mounted electrophysiology rig that supports stimulation and recording of neuron responses utilizes a World Precision Instruments DUO 773 electrometer. The setup uses current stimulus waveforms pre-computed in MATLAB@ and applied to the DUO 773 from a proprietary LabView@ application on a local PC through a USB-6211 data acquisition device. The PC is also used for data recording and storage. The lab wishes to investigate potential applications of its research in medical devices. This will require performance of as many of the current functions as possible in real-time. To fulfill this need, a scaled-down, self-contained device capable of applying a stimulus, measuring a neuron membrane voltage response, displaying measured data, and capturing data for future analysis and manipulation by the user was developed.

The developed hand-held device displays stimulation and response signals and triggers external oscilloscopes for redundant viewing. Captured data is saved to an on-board MicroSD card for retrieval and manipulation on a PC at a later date. During experimental operation the user can stimulate a neuron with a single pulse, or stimulate continuously with a train of pulses at 1 Hz. The stimulation performed during experimental operation is conducted through an interface to the DUO 773 electrometer. The device provides a stimulation signal to the DUO 773 and measures the corresponding current monitor and bridge output (membrane voltage) signals that are output from the DUO 773. The functionality of a number of components in the current electrophysiology rig are encompassed within this scaled-down device. Device operation is controlled using a graphical user interface (GUI).

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted