Multi-frequency segmental bio-impedance device
: design, development and applications

  • Joeal Subash

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Bio-impedance analysis (BIA) provides a rapid, non-invasive technique for body composition estimation. BIA offers a convenient alternative to standard techniques such as MRI, CT scan or DEXA scan for selected types of body composition analysis. The accuracy of BIA is limited because it is an indirect method of composition analysis. It relies on linear relationships between measured impedance and morphological parameters such as height and weight to derive estimates. To overcome these underlying limitations of BIA, a multi-frequency segmental bio-impedance device was constructed through a series of iterative enhancements and improvements of existing BIA instrumentation. Key features of the design included an easy to construct current-source and compact PCB design. The final device was trialled with 22 human volunteers and measured impedance was compared against body composition estimates obtained by DEXA scan. This enabled the development of newer techniques to make BIA predictions. To add a ‘visual aspect’ to BIA, volunteers were scanned in 3D using an inexpensive scattered light gadget (Xbox Kinect controller) and 3D volumes of their limbs were compared with BIA measurements to further improve BIA predictions. A three-stage digital filtering scheme was also implemented to enable extraction of heart-rate data from recorded bio-electrical signals. Additionally modifications have been introduced to measure change in bio-impedance with motion, this could be adapted to further improve accuracy and veracity for limb composition analysis. The findings in this thesis aim to give new direction to the prediction of body composition using BIA.
The design development and refinement applied to BIA in this research programme suggest new opportunities to enhance the accuracy and clinical utility of BIA for the prediction of body composition analysis. In particular, the use of bio-impedance to predict limb volumes which would provide an additional metric for body composition measurement and help distinguish between fat and muscle content.
Date of Award5 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aston University
SupervisorClifford Bailey (Supervisor), Ian T. Nabney (Supervisor) & Nagi R Fahmi (Supervisor)


  • segmental bio-impedance analysis
  • body composition
  • body-volume indexing
  • bio-electrical instrumentation

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