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ERIC Number: EJ1025046
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Pulse Oximetry in the Physics Lab: A Colorful Alternative to Traditional Optics Curricula
Kutschera, Ellynne; Dunlap, Justin C.; Byrd, Misti; Norlin, Casey; Widenhorn, Ralf
Physics Teacher, v51 n8 p495-497 Nov 2013
We designed a physics laboratory exercise around pulse oximetry, a noninvasive medical technique used to assess a patient's blood oxygen saturation. An alternative to a traditional optics and light lab, this exercise teaches the principles of light absorption, spectroscopy, and the properties of light, while simultaneously studying a common medical device. Pulse oximeters are ubiquitous in clinical environments; many people who have undergone surgery or visited a hospital environment have experienced the use of this device, making it a good candidate for an investigative lab. The experiment elicits the creative process of device development from students as they conduct measurements using a blood analog that reconstructs the principles of pulse oximetry.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A