The University of Southampton

AUDI1003 Basic Physics, Acoustics, Optics and Instrumentation

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to provide you with a foundation in physics that will underpin pysiological measurement. In particular, this module will help you to learn basic mathematical principles and how these apply to neurosensory measurement, key concepts of mechanical, acoustical and electrical systems, the properties of sound and light, signal analysis and representation. This module supports the year 1 Physiological and Psychophysical Measurement module.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to fundamental physical and mathematical principles, with particular relevance to neurosensory function • Introduce you to the concepts of waves and electromagnetic fields • Introduce the principles of vibratory motion, simple and complex signals and time- and frequency-domain representations • Explain correct usage of relevant physical terms and quantities • Introduce methods for analysing mechanical, acoustical, optical and electrical systems • Enable you to develop your understanding and skills in the operation and calibration of instrumentation relevant to the human neurosensory system and according to recognised standards • Provide examples that link the material in this module to other programme modules

Learning Outcomes

Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe basic physical and mathematical principles relating to neurosensory function and stimuli
  • Select and justify appropriate methods for representing and analysing signals
  • Explain the operation of instrumentation relevant to the human neurosensory system and principles of calibration


• Basic mathematical principles • Fundamental and derived physical quantities and their units • Simple vibratory motion and the sine wave • Transmission and propagation of light and sound • Electromagnetic waves and fields • Power and intensity, the decibel (logarithms) • Types of signal and time and frequency domain representation • Analogue and digital signals and systems • Principles of signal measurement, conditioning and analysis • Descriptions of mechanical, acoustical and electrical systems • Impedance and resonance • Reflection, refraction and absorption of waves • Linearity and nonlinearity, distortion • Operation and calibration of instrumentation relevant to neurosensory testing

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures in a formal classroom setting. Typical class size is 30 students. During these lectures there may be small group work with four students per group discussing salient issues with feedback from each group to the whole class. You will need to work in your own time and in timetabled independent learning sessions in order to supplement lectures. In addition to the information resources available to you, you will be able to meet with the module staff for assistance as and when required. Learning activities include: Working in small groups during the lecture and feeding back from those groups to the group as a whole. Working in your own time and in timetabled independent learning sessions. You are expected to read supporting texts outlined in the book list and make reference to appropriate academic journals in order to support lectures.

Wider reading or practice40
Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Completion of assessment task2
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (120 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

AUDI1007Physiological and Psychophysical Measurement
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