Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Computing, Robotics and Bionics 2

Computing, Robotics and Bionics 2
Second semester
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish

Teaching staff

An appointment with the teacher must be arranged by institutional email.


The first part of the course presents the potential of the Arduino microcontroller, and operation of the most useful sensors and actuators in medical robotics to provide the student with the basic knowledge for the design and implementation of active prostheses and human-machine-human interfaces. (HMI). There is also a brief introduction to modern control engineering to solve measurement and automatic control problems in the field of Biomedical Engineering.

The second part of the course will focus on neuroengineering of motor and sensory function, which provides methods of neuroscience and engineering to design solutions to problems associated with motor and sensory limitations and dysfunctions. In particular, the rehabilitation or recovery of motor and sensory functions through the use of neuroprostheses will be studied. Given the multidisciplinary nature of neural prostheses, this field has adopted multiple terminologies that are used synonymously, such as: bionic devices, neuroprostheses or neural prostheses.

Pre-course requirements

To access to the course it is required to have completed the following subjects:

First year subjects 


Second year subjects


Fundamentals and Electronic Systems

Signal and Systems Theory

Third year subjects

Computing, Robotics and Bionics 1
Neurosciences Applied to Orthoprosthesis (recommended, but not mandatory)


*It is required to have achieved a good level of coding and computational thinking


  1. Describe what Neuroengineering is and its main areas of application.
  2. Know the different neuroprostheses present in Neuroengineering and their operating principle.
  3. Understand the difference between a sensor and an actuator.
  4. Differentiate between an active and passive prosthesis and know its advantages and limitations.


  • CB1 - Students must demonstrate that they have and understand knowledge in an area of study based on general secondary education. This knowledge should be of a level that, although based on advanced textbooks, also includes some of the cutting-edge elements from their field of study.
  • CB2 - Students must know how to apply their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and have the competences that are demonstrated through the creation and defence of arguments and the resolution of problems within their field of study.
  • CB4 - Students can transmit information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • CE1 - To solve the maths problems that arise in the field of Bioengineering. The ability to apply knowledge of geometry, calculate integrals, use numerical methods and achieve optimisation.
  • CE12 - To undertake a professional project in the field of Bioengineering-specific technologies in which knowledge acquired through teaching is synthesised and incorporated.
  • CE13 - To identify, understand and use the principles behind electronics, sensors, air conditioners and systems that acquire biomedical signals
  • CE15 - The ability to undertake a project through the use of data sources, the application of methodologies, research techniques and tools specific to Bioengineering, give a presentation and publicly defend it to a specialist audience in a way that demonstrates the acquisition of the competences and knowledge that are specific to this degree programme.
  • CE16 - To apply specific Bioengineering terminology both verbally and in writing in a foreign language.
  • CE17 - To be able to identify the engineering concepts that can be applied in the fields of biology and health.
  • CE3 - To apply fundamental knowledge on using and programming computers, operating systems, databases and IT programs to the field of Bioengineering.
  • CE7 - To know how to recognise anatomy and physiology when applied to the structures Bioengineering involves.
  • CE8 - To hold a dialogue based on critical thinking on ideas connected to the main dimensions of the human being
  • CG1 - To undertake projects in the field of Bioengineering that aim to achieve a concept and a design, as well as manufacture prosthetics and orthotics that are specific to a certain pathology or need.
  • CG10 - To know how to work in a multilingual and multidisciplinary environment.
  • CG2 - To promote the values that are specific to a peaceful culture, thus contributing to democratic coexistence, respect for human rights and fundamental principles such as equality and non-discrimination.
  • CG3 - To be able to learn new methods and theories and be versatile so as to adapt to new situations.
  • CG4 - To resolve problems based on initiative, be good at decision-making, creativity, critical reasoning and communication, as well as the transmission of knowledge, skills and prowess in the field of Bioengineering
  • CG6 - To apply the necessary legislation when exercising this profession.
  • CG7 - To analyse and evaluate the social and environmental impact of technical solutions
  • CT2 - The ability to link welfare with globalisation and sustainability; to acquire the ability to use skills, technology, the economy and sustainability in a balanced and compatible manner.
  • CT3 - To know how to communicate learning results to other people both verbally and in writing, and well as thought processes and decision-making; to participate in debates in each particular specialist areas.
  • CT4 - To be able to work as a member of an interdisciplinary team, whether as a member or by management tasks, with the aim of contributing to undertaking projects based on pragmatism and a feeling of responsibility, taking on commitment while bearing the resources available in mind.
  • CT5 - To use information sources in a reliable manner. To manage the acquisition, structuring, analysis and visualisation of data and information in your specialist area and critically evaluate the results of this management.
  • CT6 - To detect gaps in your own knowledge and overcome this through critical reflection and choosing better actions to broaden your knowledge.
  • CT7 - To be fluent in a third language, usually English, with a suitable verbal and written level that is in line with graduate requirements.

Learning outcomes

Know how to program a microcontroller to obtain data from a sensor.
Know how to program a microcontroller to activate and deactivate actuators.

Describe peripheral neuroprostheses and muscle reinnervation.

Describe sensory neuroprostheses.

Describe the operation of a myoelectric prosthesis.

Know the main sensors and actuators present in a mechatronic prosthesis.


Block 1. Computation and robotics.

1. The Arduino platform.

1.1 The Arduino family.

1.2 The Arduino UNO board.

1.2 The Arduino MKR1001 board.

1.3 The Integrated Development Environment, IDE.

1.4 Input and output ports. Digital inputs and outputs. Analog Inputs. Analog Outputs. PWM ports.

1.5 The Arduino programming language.

1.6 Extensions for Arduino (shields).


2. Sensors and actuators

2.1 Actuators: DC motor, servomotors, LEDs, LCDs.

2.1.1 Interfacing Arduino with actuators.

2.2. Sensors: Potentiometers, force, temperature.

2.2.1 Interfacing Arduino with sensors.

2.3 The Arduino libraries for the control of sensors and actuators.


3. Communication protocols

3.1 UART protocol.

3.2 SPI protocol.

3.3 I2C protocol.

3.4 Wi-Fi protocol.

3.5 Ethernet.

3.6 Bluetooth.


4. Interfacing Arduino with external software

4.1 Interfacing Arduino with Matlab.

4.2 Interfacing Arduino with Simulink.


Experimental activities: acquire data from sensors, control velocity and position of DC motors, control position of servomotors.


Block 2. Bionics. Motor and sensory function.


1. The muscular signal (EMG)

1.1. Origin of the muscular signal.

1.2. Recording and processing muscular activity.

1.2.1 Electromyography (EMG).

1.2.2 PNS neural interfaces.


2. Neuroprosthetics.

2.1 Motor neuroprosthetics.

2.1.1 Peripheral Nervous System.

2.1.2 Spinal cord. 

2.2. Sensory neuroprosthetics.

2.2.1 Retinal Prosthetics.

2.2.2 Cochlear Prosthetics.

2.2.3 Vestibular Prosthetics.

2.2.4 Optogenetics.


Experimental activities: Muscular synergies from EMG signal. EMG processing and prosthetics arm control. Cuff ENG cumulative signal processing.

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Project-oriented learning is a method based on experiential and reflective learning in which the research process on a particular subject is of great importance. The aim is to resolve complex problems based on open solutions or tackle difficult issues that allow new knowledge to be generated and new skills to be developed by students. Lectures are the setting for: learning and managing the terminology and language structures related to each scientific field. Practicing and developing oral and written communication skills. And learning how to analyse the bibliography and literature on Bioengineering. Using guidelines to identify and understand the main ideas during lectures. This academic activity has been an essential tool in education since it first began and should have a significant presence within the framework of this degree programme. Reading texts with the aim of engaging critical thinking plays a fundamental role in learning for citizens who are both aware and responsible. An activity for outside the classroom. This activity means students can allow their knowledge to settle and rest, which is always necessary before beginning a new task. The professor sets out exercises and problems, helps students to progress in terms of the engineering process the design involves, and guides the student, thus partial goals are achieved that facilitate the incorporation of the theoretical knowledge acquired. An activity for outside the classroom. During this activity, students complete exercises autonomously, without the presence of a lecturer/professor. At this stage many questions always arise, but since they cannot be asked immediately then the student has to make more effort to understand them Practical classes allow students to interact at first hand with the tools they will need to use in their work. In small groups or individually practical demonstrations will be carried out based on the theoretical knowledge acquired during the theory classes. In theory classes the fundamental and scientific knowledge that forms the basis of the knowledge and rigour that engineering studies require must be established. This teaching method is based on reflection, it can provide students with useful knowledge and skills to tackle problems efficiently in a shorter period of time. Group work is an essential tool in today’s society. In the field of bioengineering in which design and production processes are not carried out by an individual, it is essential to learn how to work as part of a team Individual work, involving study, the search for information, data processing and the internalisation of knowledge will allow students to consolidate their learning. CB1 CB2 CB3 CB4 CB5 CE1 CE10 CE12 CE13 CE15 CE16 CE17 CE21 CE3 CE5 CE7 CE8 CG1 CG10 CG2 CG3 CG4 CG5 CG6 CG7 CG8 CG9 CT1 CT2 CT3 CT4 CT5 CT6 CT7

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

The final mark for the subject will be calculated as follows:



Nlab : Lab grade

Nproj : Final project grade 


No partial exam. No final exam.

To apply for the apt, it is essential to carry out the subject’s laboratory practicums.


Important considerations:

  1. Plagiarism, copying or any other action that may be considered cheating will be zero in that evaluation section. Besides, plagiarism during exams will mean the immediate failing of the whole subject.
  2. In the second-sitting exams, the maximum grade students will be able to obtain is "Excellent" (grade with honors distinction will not be possible).
  3. Changes of the calendar, exam dates or the evaluation system will not be accepted.
  4. Exchange students (Erasmus and others) or repeaters will be subjected to the same conditions as the rest of the students.

Bibliography and resources

[1] Farina et al. Introduction to Neural Engineering for Motor Rehabilitation. IEEE Press Series on Biomedical Engineering Book.

[2] Tojeiro Calaza, Germán. 2014. Taller de Arduino: un enfoque práctico para principiantes. Barcelona, Marcombo.

[3] Wilcher, Don. 2012. Learn electronics with Arduino. New York, Apress.