What is Biomedical Engineering?

Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering and technology to medical sciences. It includes many exciting specialties including:

  • Tissue engineering — designing new tissues from the basic building blocks (collagen, elastin) to form new artery walls, new muscle and new coatings for nerves

  • Cellular engineering — designing new cells using recombinant DNA and developing procedures to allow normal cells to adhere to artificial implanted biomaterials

  • Biomaterials — design of new materials for implantation in the human body and analysis of the impact of these materials in the body: artificial arteries, hips, knees and bone implants

  • Medical imaging — analysis of how CAT and MRI scans are designed and used to image tissues in the body, how medical ultrasound works and how X-ray systems work

  • Medical optics and lasers — how lasers are used in medicine for diagnosis and treatment

  • Biomechanics — analysis of the stresses and strains existing in all structures within the body and how stress and strain impact function at the cellular, tissue and organ levels, thus affecting normal behavior

  • Human factors and ergonomics — how to design systems to improve human performance in a wide range of applications from Air Force pilot cockpits to Navy weapons systems to the everyday workplace

  • Assistive technology — the development of devices and systems to assist individuals with disabilities, including mobility, orientation, communications, independent living, education, employment and integration into the community

  • Rehabilitation therapy — development of devices and systems to support the acute-care rehabilitation process on either the patient side or the caregiver side

  • Prosthetics — the development of devices and systems as an artificial substitute for a missing body part or component

  • Artificial organs — analysis of artificial hearts, cardiac pacemakers, kidney dialysis machines and artificial hips and knees, among many others

  • Man-machine interfacing — how eye tracking, voice recognition, muscle controls and brain wave controls are used in medicine to control surgical robots, remote diagnostic and therapeutic systems

  • Bioacoustical engineering — design and development of sonic, ultrasonic and vibrational devices to provide alternatives for individuals with sensory disabilities, improve speech perception in high noise as well as innovative non-invasive medical devices