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This paper presents an overview of the fundamentals and state of the-art in noninvasive physiological monitoring instrumentation with a focus on electrode and optrode interfaces to the body, and micropower-integrated circuit design for unobtrusive wearable applications. Since the electrode/optrode-body interface is a performance limiting factor in noninvasive monitoring systems, practical interface configurations are offered for biopotential acquisition, electrode-tissue impedance measurement, and optical biosignal sensing. A systematic approach to instrumentation amplifier (IA) design using CMOS transistors operating in weak inversion is shown to offer high energy and noise efficiency. Practical methodologies to obviate 1/f noise, counteract electrode offset drift, improve common-mode rejection ratio, and obtain subhertz high-pass cutoff are illustrated with a survey of the state-of-the-art IAs. Furthermore, fundamental principles and state-of-the-art technologies for electrode-tissue impedance measurement, photoplethysmography, functional near-infrared spectroscopy, and signal coding and quantization are reviewed, with additional guidelines for overall power management including wireless transmission. Examples are presented of practical dry-contact and noncontact cardiac, respiratory, muscle and brain monitoring systems, and their clinical applications.