Polybench - Backgrounds
Analysis of biosignals is not easy. Not only, because data analysis itself is a struggle, but also because of the nature of signals from measurements on living organisms. It is not like the analysis of physics data or the simulation of electrical or mechanical systems, because the latter have in common that they base on more or less clear physics laws and formulas.
Biosignals have no clear physical properties. In many cases, the exact source of any biosignals is hardly understood, and often the signals are close to pure noise. If data originates from measurement set-ups where physics laws can be applied, then formulas and known parameters are the building blocks with which the analysis process is designed. If there are no physics laws known, if no formulas are ready for use, and if it is not even known how many parameters play a role, as is the case in many physiological measurements, a completely different approach to signal analysis design is required.
Polybench offers this different approach. Polybench is the result of almost forty years of experience in electrophysiological data measurements and digital signal analysis. In these forty years a lot has changed. In the beginning, huge computers had to be used to analyse measurement data. Signals from electrodes were filtered using analogue filters and printed on paper.
One of the founders of our company, Leo A. van Eykern, was convinced that many valuable properties in the data were simply overlooked, because of too rigorous filters, wrong analysis techniques, and because of equipment that was not sensitive enough. He was at the forefront of the rise of digital measurement equipment and data analysis on generally available computers, which altogether has revolutionized biosignal analysis.
Polybench incorporates the experience that analysis using analogue processors or mathematical formulas is not enough to squeeze out all the signal properties that are there. The developers of Polybench reason that signal analysis software is needed that allows rather evolutionary design techniques, by using trial-and-error, as opposed to planned design, by using formulas.
Because of the noisy nature of biosignals, designing an analysis by trial-and-error is more productive and leads to better results. Other well known software packages for mathematical analysis are suited to solve signal analysis problems, but they are not well equipped for these requirements.
In general, Polybench is designed to be used in medical and research environments, and therefore offers extra tools to process biosignal data. For example, it allows the assignment of measurement data to patients, and it focuses on touch-screen computers to run on, because in the medical lab those are commonly used.
To conclude: Polybench is an advanced platform for designing biosignal data analysis, as well as for designing complete medical software applications that perform biosignal data collection in demanding medical environments.
Use of Polybench
What makes Polybench so different from other, well known, signal analysis software packages?
One important difference is that Polybench is especially made for handling biosignals, and that it was designed by people that come from medical research themselves. It is good in the development of data analysis routines, but also in the design of measurement protocols and complete medical software applications. The developers of Polybench know by experience what measuring live subjects means: stress for the subject, and stress for the medical or scientific personnel. The measurement application must be catered for these kinds of difficult situations.
Polybench uses one concept for as well the design of analysis schemas, as for the design of measurement protocols. A simple drag-and-drop user interface is used to put mathematical symbols on a drawing page, and the same method is used to put graphics, buttons, and other user interface objects on application screens.
Clinical or scientific measurement batches are often performed by assisting personnel, under stressful circumstances, and therefore require clear control screens without any frills. The Polybench user interface is completely build out of graphics, which gives the user freedom of graphical design of his measurement applications. Polybench applications are designed to be shown in full screen (so, without windows etc.) and if available, on touch-screen computers.