Hardware and software design for a National Instrument-based magnetic induction tomography system for prospective biomedical applications

Physiol Meas. 2012 May;33(5):863-79. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/33/5/863. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Magnetic induction tomography (MIT) is a new and emerging type of tomography technique that is able to map the passive electromagnetic properties (in particular conductivity) of an object. Excitation coils are used to induce eddy currents in the medium, and the magnetic field produced by the induced eddy current is then sensed by the receiver coils. Because of its non-invasive and contactless feature, it becomes an attractive technique for many applications (especially in biomedical area) compared to traditional contact electrode-based electrical impedance tomography. Due to the low contrast in conductivity between biological tissues, an accurate and stable hardware system is necessary. Most MIT systems in the literature employ external signal generators, power amplifiers and highly stable down-conversion electronics to obtain a satisfactory phase measurement. However, this would increase design complexity substantially. In this paper, a National Instrument-based MIT system is developed at the University of Bath, aiming for biomedical applications. The system utilizes National Instrument products to accomplish all signal driving, switching and data acquisition tasks, which ease the system design whilst providing satisfactory performance. This paper presents a full-scaled medical MIT system, from the sensor and system hardware design, eddy current model verification to the image reconstruction software: the performance of this MIT instrumentation system is characterized in detail, including the system accuracy and system stability. The methods of solving eddy current problem are presented. The reconstructed images of detecting the presence of saline solutions are also included in this paper, which show the capability of national instrument products to be developed into a full-scaled biomedical MIT system, by demonstrating the practical experimental results.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Phenomena*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Software*
  • Tomography / instrumentation*


  • Sodium Chloride