##### ⚠️ WARNING: This article is obsolete

# Circuits vs. Software

⚠️ Check out my newer ECG designs:

**Would I rather design circuits or software?** I'm a software guy (or at least I know more about software than circuits) so I'd rather record noisy signals and write software to eliminate the noise, rather than assembling circuits to eliminate the noise in hardware. In the case of my DIY ECG machine, I'd say I've done a surprisingly good job of eliminating noise using software. Most DIY ECG circuits on the net use multiple op-amps and filters to do this. Instead of all that fancy stuff, I made a crude circuit (a single op-amp and two resisters) that is capable of record my ECG and filtered it in software. The output is pretty good!

**The first step in removing noise is understanding it.** Most of the noise in my signal came from sine waves caused by my electrodes picking up radiated signals in the room. Since this type of interference is consistent through the entire recording, power-spectral analysis could be applied to determine the frequencies of the noise so I could selectively block them out. I used the fast Fourier transform algorithm (FFT) on the values to generate a plot of the spectral components of my signal (mostly noise) seen as sharp peaks. I manually band-stopped certain regions of the spectrum that I thought were noise-related (colored bands). This is possible to do electronically with a more complicated circuit, but is interesting to do in software. I think performed an inverse FFT on the trace. The result was a trace with greatly reduced noise. After a moving window smoothing algorithm was applied the signal was even better! Note that I recorded the WAV file with "sound recorder" (not GoldWave) and did all of the processing (including band-pass filtering) within Python.

**The ECG came out better than expected!** The graph above shows the power spectral analysis with band-stop filters applied at the colored regions. Below is the trace of the original signal (light gray), the inverse-FFT-filtered trace (dark gray), and the smoothed filtered trace (black) - the final ECG signal I intend to use.

**This is a magnified view of a few heartbeats**. It looks pretty good! Here's the code I used to do all the calculations:

```
import wave, struct, numpy, pylab, scipy
fname='./success3.wav'
def readwave(wavfilename):
"""load raw data directly from a WAV file."""
global rate
w=wave.open(wavfilename,'rb')
(nchannel, width, rate, length, comptype, compname) = w.getparams()
print "[%s] %d HZ (%0.2fsec)" %(wavfilename, rate, length/float(rate))
frames = w.readframes(length)
return numpy.array(struct.unpack("%sh" %length*nchannel,frames))
def shrink(data,deg=100):
"""condense a linear data array by a multiple of [deg]."""
global rate
small=[]
print "starting with", len(data)
for i in range(len(data)/deg):
small.append(numpy.average(data[i*deg:(i+1)*deg]))
print "ending with", len(small)
rate = rate/deg
#return small[40000:50000]
return small
def normalize(data):
"""make all data fit between -.5 and +.5"""
data=data-numpy.average(data)
big=float(max(data))
sml=float(min(data))
data=data/abs(big-sml)
data=data+float(abs(min(data)))-.47
return data
def smooth(data,deg=20,expand=False):
"""moving window average (deg = window size)."""
for i in range(len(data)-deg):
if i==0: cur,smooth=sum(data[0:deg]),[]
smooth.append(cur/deg)
cur=cur-data[i]+data[i+deg]
if expand:
for i in range(deg):
smooth.append(smooth[-1])
return smooth
def smoothListGaussian(list,degree=10,expand=False):
window=degree*2-1
weight=numpy.array([1.0]*window)
weightGauss=[]
for i in range(window):
i=i-degree+1
frac=i/float(window)
gauss=1/(numpy.exp((4*(frac))**2))
weightGauss.append(gauss)
weight=numpy.array(weightGauss)*weight
smoothed=[0.0]*(len(list)-window)
for i in range(len(smoothed)):
smoothed[i]=sum(numpy.array(list[i:i+window])*weight)/sum(weight)
if expand:
for i in range((degree*2)-1):
smoothed.append(smoothed[-1])
return smoothed
def goodSmooth(data):
#data=smooth(fix,20,True)
data=smooth(fix,100,True)
#data=smooth(fix,20,True)
return data
def makeabs(data):
"""center linear data to its average value."""
for i in range(len(data)): data[i]=abs(data[i])
return data
def invert(data):
"""obviously."""
for i in range(len(data)): data[i]=-data[i]
return data
def loadwav(fname):
"""a do-everything function to get usable, smoothed data from a WAV."""
wav=readwave(fname)
wav=shrink(wav)
wav=invert(wav)
wav=smooth(wav)
wav=smooth(wav,10)
wav=normalize(wav)
Xs=getXs(wav)
return Xs,wav
def getXs(datalen):
"""calculate time positions based on WAV frequency resolution."""
Xs=[]
for i in range(len(datalen)):
Xs.append(i*(1/float(rate)))
print len(datalen), len(Xs)
return Xs
def integrate(data):
"""integrate the function with respect to its order."""
inte=[]
for i in range(len(data)-1):
inte.append(abs(data[i]-data[i+1]))
inte.append(inte[-1])
return inte
def getPoints(Xs,data,res=10):
"""return X,Y coordinates of R peaks and calculate R-R based heartrate."""
pXs,pYs,pHRs=[],[],[]
for i in range(res,len(data)-res):
if data[i]>data[i-res]+.1 and data[i]>data[i+res]+.1:
if data[i]>data[i-1] and data[i]>data[i+1]:
pXs.append(Xs[i])
pYs.append(data[i])
if len(pXs)>1:
pHRs.append((1.0/(pXs[-1]-pXs[-2]))*60.0)
pHRs.append(pHRs[-1])
return pXs,pYs,pHRs
def bandStop(fft,fftx,low,high,show=True):
lbl="%d-%d"%(low,high)
print "band-stopping:",lbl
if show:
col=pylab.cm.spectral(low/1200.)
pylab.axvspan(low,high,alpha=.4,ec='none',label=lbl,fc=col)
#pylab.axvspan(-low,-high,fc='r',alpha=.3)
for i in range(len(fft)):
if abs(fftx[i])>low and abs(fftx[i])<high :
fft[i]=0
return fft
def getXs(data):
xs=numpy.array(range(len(data)))
xs=xs*(1.0/rate)
return xs
def clip(x,deg=1000):
return numpy.array(x[deg:-deg])
pylab.figure(figsize=(12,8))
raw = invert(shrink(readwave(fname),10))
xs = getXs(raw)
fftr = numpy.fft.fft(raw)
fft = fftr[:]
fftx= numpy.fft.fftfreq(len(raw), d=(1.0/(rate)))
pylab.subplot(2,1,1)
pylab.plot(fftx,abs(fftr),'k')
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,30,123)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,160,184)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,294,303)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,386,423)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,534,539)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,585,610)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,654,660)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,773,778)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,893,900)
fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,1100,max(fftx))
pylab.axis([0,1200,0,2*10**6])
pylab.legend()
pylab.title("Power Spectral Analysis",fontsize=28)
pylab.ylabel("Power",fontsize=20)
pylab.xlabel("Frequency (Hz)",fontsize=20)
pylab.subplot(2,1,2)
pylab.title("Original Trace",fontsize=28)
pylab.ylabel("Potential",fontsize=20)
pylab.xlabel("Time (sec)",fontsize=20)
pylab.plot(clip(xs),clip(raw),color='.8',label='1: raw')
fix = scipy.ifft(fft)
pylab.plot(clip(xs),clip(fix)+5000,color='.6',label='2: band-stop')
pylab.plot(clip(xs),clip(goodSmooth(fix))-5000,'k',label='3: smoothed')
pylab.legend()
pylab.title("Band-Stop Filtered Trace",fontsize=28)
pylab.ylabel("Potential",fontsize=20)
pylab.xlabel("Time (sec)",fontsize=20)
pylab.subplots_adjust(hspace=.5)
pylab.savefig('out.png',dpi=100)
pylab.show()
print "COMPLETE"
```

--- title: Circuits vs. Software date: 2009-01-15 17:47:52 tags: diyECG, old, python --- # Circuits vs. Software > **⚠️ Check out my newer ECG designs:** * [**Sound Card ECG with AD8232**](https://swharden.com/blog/2019-03-15-sound-card-ecg-with-ad8232/) * [**Single op-amp ECG**](https://swharden.com/blog/2016-08-08-diy-ecg-with-1-op-amp/) __Would I rather design circuits or software?__ I'm a software guy (or at least I know more about software than circuits) so I'd rather record noisy signals and write software to eliminate the noise, rather than assembling circuits to eliminate the noise in hardware. In the case of my DIY ECG machine, I'd say I've done a surprisingly good job of eliminating noise using software. Most DIY ECG circuits on the net use multiple op-amps and filters to do this. Instead of all that fancy stuff, I made a crude circuit (a single op-amp and two resisters) that is capable of record my ECG and filtered it in software. The output is pretty good! __The first step in removing noise is understanding it.__ Most of the noise in my signal came from sine waves caused by my electrodes picking up radiated signals in the room. Since this type of interference is consistent through the entire recording, power-spectral analysis could be applied to determine the frequencies of the noise so I could selectively block them out. I used the [fast Fourier transform algorithm (FFT)](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fft) on the values to generate a plot of the spectral components of my signal (mostly noise) seen as sharp peaks. I manually band-stopped certain regions of the spectrum that I thought were noise-related (colored bands). This is possible to do electronically with a more complicated circuit, but is interesting to do in software. I think performed an inverse FFT on the trace. The result was a trace with greatly reduced noise. After a moving window smoothing algorithm was applied the signal was even better! Note that I recorded the WAV file with "sound recorder" (not GoldWave) and did all of the processing (including band-pass filtering) within Python. <div class="text-center"> [![](diy_ecg4_thumb.jpg)](diy_ecg4.png) </div> __The ECG came out better than expected!__ The graph above shows the power spectral analysis with band-stop filters applied at the colored regions. Below is the trace of the original signal (light gray), the inverse-FFT-filtered trace (dark gray), and the smoothed filtered trace (black) - the final ECG signal I intend to use. <div class="text-center"> [![](diy_ecg3_thumb.jpg)](diy_ecg3.png) </div> __This is a magnified view of a few heartbeats__. It looks pretty good! Here's the code I used to do all the calculations: ```python import wave, struct, numpy, pylab, scipy fname='./success3.wav' def readwave(wavfilename): """load raw data directly from a WAV file.""" global rate w=wave.open(wavfilename,'rb') (nchannel, width, rate, length, comptype, compname) = w.getparams() print "[%s] %d HZ (%0.2fsec)" %(wavfilename, rate, length/float(rate)) frames = w.readframes(length) return numpy.array(struct.unpack("%sh" %length*nchannel,frames)) def shrink(data,deg=100): """condense a linear data array by a multiple of [deg].""" global rate small=[] print "starting with", len(data) for i in range(len(data)/deg): small.append(numpy.average(data[i*deg:(i+1)*deg])) print "ending with", len(small) rate = rate/deg #return small[40000:50000] return small def normalize(data): """make all data fit between -.5 and +.5""" data=data-numpy.average(data) big=float(max(data)) sml=float(min(data)) data=data/abs(big-sml) data=data+float(abs(min(data)))-.47 return data def smooth(data,deg=20,expand=False): """moving window average (deg = window size).""" for i in range(len(data)-deg): if i==0: cur,smooth=sum(data[0:deg]),[] smooth.append(cur/deg) cur=cur-data[i]+data[i+deg] if expand: for i in range(deg): smooth.append(smooth[-1]) return smooth def smoothListGaussian(list,degree=10,expand=False): window=degree*2-1 weight=numpy.array([1.0]*window) weightGauss=[] for i in range(window): i=i-degree+1 frac=i/float(window) gauss=1/(numpy.exp((4*(frac))**2)) weightGauss.append(gauss) weight=numpy.array(weightGauss)*weight smoothed=[0.0]*(len(list)-window) for i in range(len(smoothed)): smoothed[i]=sum(numpy.array(list[i:i+window])*weight)/sum(weight) if expand: for i in range((degree*2)-1): smoothed.append(smoothed[-1]) return smoothed def goodSmooth(data): #data=smooth(fix,20,True) data=smooth(fix,100,True) #data=smooth(fix,20,True) return data def makeabs(data): """center linear data to its average value.""" for i in range(len(data)): data[i]=abs(data[i]) return data def invert(data): """obviously.""" for i in range(len(data)): data[i]=-data[i] return data def loadwav(fname): """a do-everything function to get usable, smoothed data from a WAV.""" wav=readwave(fname) wav=shrink(wav) wav=invert(wav) wav=smooth(wav) wav=smooth(wav,10) wav=normalize(wav) Xs=getXs(wav) return Xs,wav def getXs(datalen): """calculate time positions based on WAV frequency resolution.""" Xs=[] for i in range(len(datalen)): Xs.append(i*(1/float(rate))) print len(datalen), len(Xs) return Xs def integrate(data): """integrate the function with respect to its order.""" inte=[] for i in range(len(data)-1): inte.append(abs(data[i]-data[i+1])) inte.append(inte[-1]) return inte def getPoints(Xs,data,res=10): """return X,Y coordinates of R peaks and calculate R-R based heartrate.""" pXs,pYs,pHRs=[],[],[] for i in range(res,len(data)-res): if data[i]>data[i-res]+.1 and data[i]>data[i+res]+.1: if data[i]>data[i-1] and data[i]>data[i+1]: pXs.append(Xs[i]) pYs.append(data[i]) if len(pXs)>1: pHRs.append((1.0/(pXs[-1]-pXs[-2]))*60.0) pHRs.append(pHRs[-1]) return pXs,pYs,pHRs def bandStop(fft,fftx,low,high,show=True): lbl="%d-%d"%(low,high) print "band-stopping:",lbl if show: col=pylab.cm.spectral(low/1200.) pylab.axvspan(low,high,alpha=.4,ec='none',label=lbl,fc=col) #pylab.axvspan(-low,-high,fc='r',alpha=.3) for i in range(len(fft)): if abs(fftx[i])>low and abs(fftx[i])<high : fft[i]=0 return fft def getXs(data): xs=numpy.array(range(len(data))) xs=xs*(1.0/rate) return xs def clip(x,deg=1000): return numpy.array(x[deg:-deg]) pylab.figure(figsize=(12,8)) raw = invert(shrink(readwave(fname),10)) xs = getXs(raw) fftr = numpy.fft.fft(raw) fft = fftr[:] fftx= numpy.fft.fftfreq(len(raw), d=(1.0/(rate))) pylab.subplot(2,1,1) pylab.plot(fftx,abs(fftr),'k') fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,30,123) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,160,184) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,294,303) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,386,423) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,534,539) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,585,610) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,654,660) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,773,778) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,893,900) fft=bandStop(fft,fftx,1100,max(fftx)) pylab.axis([0,1200,0,2*10**6]) pylab.legend() pylab.title("Power Spectral Analysis",fontsize=28) pylab.ylabel("Power",fontsize=20) pylab.xlabel("Frequency (Hz)",fontsize=20) pylab.subplot(2,1,2) pylab.title("Original Trace",fontsize=28) pylab.ylabel("Potential",fontsize=20) pylab.xlabel("Time (sec)",fontsize=20) pylab.plot(clip(xs),clip(raw),color='.8',label='1: raw') fix = scipy.ifft(fft) pylab.plot(clip(xs),clip(fix)+5000,color='.6',label='2: band-stop') pylab.plot(clip(xs),clip(goodSmooth(fix))-5000,'k',label='3: smoothed') pylab.legend() pylab.title("Band-Stop Filtered Trace",fontsize=28) pylab.ylabel("Potential",fontsize=20) pylab.xlabel("Time (sec)",fontsize=20) pylab.subplots_adjust(hspace=.5) pylab.savefig('out.png',dpi=100) pylab.show() print "COMPLETE" ```