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Medical Informatics and Perception

Bart M. ter Haar Romeny
Organization: Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Department: Image Sciences Institute and Experimental Audiology
Guido F. Smoorenburg
Organization: Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Department: Image Sciences Institute and Experimental Audiology
Education level


The course Medical Informatics and Perception focuses on perception theory in a biological and computer-simulation context. The course integrates medical informatics, physics, mathematics and perception theory. Central theme is signal processing, by computer and by biological systems: perception.

We treat human vision and hearing in detail from a neurophysiological to a mathematical modelling level. The level of depth goes to the study of hearing as a (nonlinear) system capable to analyse the incoming sounds by Fourier Transform, and the visual system as a system extracting (multiscale) derivatives from the retinal images. We study the auditory and visual system as a process.

Both lecture hall presentations and computerlabs are based on Mathematica as an interactive toolkit. One of the objectives is to appreciate and get working knowledge of high-level easy-to-use computer simulation tools.

Readings related to Hearing:
  • Active Cochlea
  • Noise and averaging
  • Cochlea Frequency Analysis
  • Menieres Disease Middle Ear
  • Nonlinear Active Cochlea
  • Organ of Corti
  • Outer and Middle Ear
  • Perceptual Scales Pitch
  • Harmonic Oscillator
Images and movies:
  • Example images of edge detection at different scales
  • Animated histogram
  • Animated convolutions
  • Functional MR slices (movie)
  • Herman's grid image
  • Animation of Corti's organ stimulation

The course Medical Informatics and Perception is a blockcourse of one month for first year Medical Biology students at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Additional to the lectures, are fourteen computer lab sessions.

The course is well received - the computer labs are especially vivid meetings. Students quickly learn to appreciate Mathematica's possibilities, which is useful as they will use it in later years' courses.

  • Neural signal processing
  • Eye Physics
  • Ear Physics
  • Sensory system neuroanatomy
  • Mathematics: complex numbers, integration, differentiation, partial differential equations
  • Linear Systems, input/output relations
  • Introduction to computers: hardware, operating systems, applications, networks, internet
  • Fourier Transform and spectra
  • Convolution Theorem, filtering
  • Image Processing
  • Models of the cochlear sound processing, pitch perception
  • Model Visual System
  • Introduction to Mathematica
  • Discrete Filters
  • Fourier Series
  • Scale-Space Theory
  • Gauss Kernels
  • Cochlear implants

*Engineering > Signal Processing
*Science > Physics > Biophysics