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L.Srikumar Pai
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Biomedical Engineering

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Biomedical engineering is a scientific discipline which brings the principles of engineering to biology and medical treatment. Engineers are world-famous for coming up with innovative approaches to problems, and they are fond of saying that no problem is too large for an engineer. Turning this can-do attitude to the field of medicine, biomedical engineers work on a wide variety of things, from artificial hearts to cultured skin grafts, in the hopes of advancing medical treatment.

People who wish to study biomedical engineering must pursue training in both engineering and biology. Many universities have biomedical engineering departments to meet the need for new biomedical engineers and the growing interest in this field, and students typically pursue doctoral degrees in this field so that they can learn as much as possible.

A wide variety of things fall under the purview of biomedical engineering. Most new medical devices, for example, are constructed by people in this field, including things like equipment used in medical treatment, medical imaging systems, artificial organs, prosthetic limbs, and hearing aids. The ability to develop new medical devices is a critical aspect of biomedical engineering, with researchers also working on things like biocompatible materials so that the body will not reject implants, along with advanced prosthetics which can interface with the brain and nervous system.

Biomedical engineers also work in the field of genetics, researching the human genome and looking into the possibility of growing organs and skin for grafts and transplant, and they research pharmaceuticals, life support systems, and even cosmetic surgery. Biomedical engineering has brought about better artificial hip joints, improved breast implants, and new technology for everything from bone grafts to blood drawing equipment.

The field of biomedical engineering has contributed immensely to medical science since the 20th century, when biomedical engineers began to formally organize themselves and commit to working on problems which faced the medical community. Today, biomedical engineers can be found working for private companies, cooperating in labs with other medical researchers, performing research for the government, teaching new generations in their field, and working with non-profits to develop low-cost medical solutions for the developing world.

This field is constantly expanding, and generally, someone with a degree in biomedical engineering will have no trouble getting a job. A number of trade and professional organizations for biomedical engineers hold annual conferences and continuing education seminars for people to hone their skills in the field and connect with each other.

( Courtesy: S.E. Smith / )

Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering techniques and analyses to problem-solving in medicine and the biomedical sciences.

In most aspects of health care, disease prevention and treatment, or rehabilitation, there are problems that require an engineering approach. These may include developing systems to maintain and enhance life, designing replacement parts for people, or creating systems to allow the handicapped to use computers for work and communication.

The growing complexity of medical technology has increased the demand for appropriately trained professionals to bridge the gap between clinical medicine and applied medical technology. These personnel must be capable of defining a medical problem in engineering science terms and of finding a solution that satisfies both engineering and medical requirements. Such trained personnel constitute the core of biomedical engineers.

The biomedical engineer has expertise in engineering science, biological science and medical science. Biomedical engineering is usually based on one of the traditional engineering disciplines, such as electrical or mechanical engineering. There has been a great expansion of biomedical engineering in areas such as medical electronics, clinical engineering, biomaterials, and rehabilitation engineering. The scope of the field is enormous: from cardiac monitors to clinical computing, artificial hearts to contact lenses, wheel chairs to artificial tendons, modelling dialysis therapy to modelling the cardiovascular system. Biomedical engineers are also integral in the management of technology in hospitals and health care delivery.

Career opportunities

Biomedical engineers are exposed to many fields of study in engineering, medicine and biology. Due to this broad experience biomedical engineers find employment in hospitals, government bodies, industry or academic areas. Specific areas of employment include: design of medical instrumentation and prostheses; involvement in the development, manufacture and testing of medical products; and the management of technology in the hospital system.

The biomedical engineering manufacturing industry has active research and development programs. There is an increasing tendency for employment of qualified personnel as specialist consultants for promotion of the more sophisticated products, such as implants and diagnostic imaging systems.

( Courtesy: )

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