What is Biomedical Engineering?
Biomedical Engineering is the application of engineered products that advance information in biology, engineering, and medical purposes, and improves human wellbeing through interdisciplinary exercises that incorporate the designing sciences with the biomedical sciences and clinical practice. It incorporates:
- The education of new information and comprehension of living structures (systems) through the substantive and innovational use of test and systematic strategies based on the engineering sciences.
- The improvement/development of new technologies, calculations, systems and procedures that advance medicine and biology and improve therapeutic practise and human health services.
Biomedical Engineering has been around for many centuries or even thousands of years. In 2000, an archaeologist found a wooden toe that was tied to a 3,000-year-old mummy. Before WW2, biomedical engineering was just being recognized. After WW2, biomedical engineering was becoming more and more famous because of the term ‘Bioengineering’ which was invented by Heinz Wolff. Bioengineering was being invented at the National Institute for Medical Research purposes. After Wolff’s graduation, it was the first time Bioengineering was recognised as its own course (D.R. Reyes-Guerra and A.M. Fischer, 1985). Examples of biomedical engineering technologies include:
What do Biomedical Engineers do?
Most Biomedical Engineers work in hospitals and medical institutions but some also work in government agencies and some work as teachers. Bioengineers combine engineered products with biological systems to design devices and computer systems that are used in healthcare. Most of the work they do includes creating body parts replacements, artificial organs, and machines that help improve healthcare. They also test new drug therapies through software or medical equipment. Some biomedical engineers develop materials that are needed to design artificial body parts. (D.R. Reyes-Guerra and A.M. Fischer, 1985)
What training is required to become a biomedical engineer in Australia?
To become a biomedical engineer you require personal skills like:
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Take accurate measurements
Biomedical Engineers work in health care environments, and must also obtain good practical and theoretical knowledge of medical sciences and engineering. In addition, the ability to combine medical sciences and engineering is also an important skill needed. This job requires you to work with professional engineers, therapists, physiotherapists, doctors, and surgeons.
To become a biomedical engineer, Chemistry, Biology, and Maths should be done as a subject in Secondary School. To achieve a degree of biomedical engineering, the following courses are a must:
- Bachelor of Science
- Biomedical Science
- Biomedical Engineering
Typically any courses that are related to an engineering field are needed. Mechanical or Electrical engineering is a good choice to start your career. During the final years of University, you should start doing small jobs that are related to bioengineering because it will give you good training and will also tell you the environment around you and what it’s like to be a biomedical engineer.
What are the future career prospects for biomedical engineers?
The average pay for a biomedical engineer is $29.94/hr which means they earn about $64,107 per year. There are a few job options to choose from if you become a biomedical engineer like Rehabilitation Engineer Bioengineering Researcher and Clinical Engineer.
Biomedical engineers use mechanics to solve biological and medical problems. The main focus of this job is to develop inventive technology to improve health care. Another focus of this job is to develop technology that can replace organs with artificial organs. They build devices that help fix damaged organs.
The average salary of a rehabilitation engineer is $63,500 per year. Rehabilitation engineers design technologies for weak people and disabled people. They also design improved walkers for disabled people and devices that help improve the disease and improve human performance.
This fieldwork requires you to look at the observations, research facility work, investigation and testing of a progression of living materials. The aim of a bioengineering researcher is to develop new ways to build medical instruments and devices.
The average salary of a clinical engineer is $72,000. Clinical engineers apply technologies to hospitals and institutions for health care. The duty of a clinical engineer is to maintain records of the performance of the technologies and the database. This job may even offer you the chance to work with physicians to observe how those technologies are applied to different systems.
Example and description of a biomedical engineering innovation
Artificial muscles are substances, contraptions or actuators that replicate real muscle and can reversibly engage, grow, or pivot inside an individual piece because of outer stimuli, i.e current, weight, voltage or temperature (Perkins, July 11, 2019, A New Twist on Artificial Muscles). The fundamental activation effects – compression, extension, and revolution can be joined together inside a solitary segment to create different sorts of movements; for example twisting, by contracting one side of the material while extending the opposite side. General engines and pneumatic machines or rotating actuators don’t qualify as artificial muscles since there is more than one segment engaged with the activation. Because of their high plasticity, tractability and power-to-weight proportion contrasted to conventional inflexible actuators, artificial muscles can possibly be a rising innovation (Lang, 2019, An exciting new creation of artificial muscles). Even though there are limited uses, the innovation may have broad future utilisation in medicine, robotics, industry and various different possibilities
2.2 History/development of the innovation
As there are different types of artificial muscles this report will focus on the Electroactive polymers. The area of Electroactive polymers rose in 1880 when Wilhelm Rontgen planned an investigation wherein he examined the impact of an electrostatic field on the mechanical qualities on a band of normal rubber. The elastic band was fixed toward one side and was appended to a mass at the other. Electric charges were then showered onto the elastic, and it was seen that the height changed. This was soon labelled as the piezoelectric effect. (Wikipedia Contributors, Artificial Muscles, 2019)
The next significant developments in electroactive polymers occurred in the late 1960s. In 1969 the substance polyvinylidene fluoride was applied by a scientist called Kawai showed that (PVDF) displays an expansive piezoelectric effect. This started research fascination for creating different polymers frameworks that would demonstrate a comparable impact. In the year 1977, the primary electrical transmitting polymers were found by a Japanese scientist: Shirakawa Hideki. Shirakawa alongside Alan Heeger and Alan MacDiarmid exhibited that a new substance; polyacetylene was a superior electrical conductor and that by doping it with an iodine gas, they could increase its electric conductivity by 8 sets of magnitude. In this way, the conductance of a polymer was that of a metal. By late 1980s various polymers had appeared to display a piezoelectric impact or were shown to be conductive. (‘Off to a Running Start,’ National Geographic World, 1991, pp. 29-31.)
Manufacturing method of innovation
Measuring and casting
Precision and reliability are significant in the production of artificial muscles since the objective is to have a body part that comes as close as conceivable to being as adequate and worthy as a natural one. Before production of the body part is started, the prosthetist assesses the amputee and takes an imprint or digital measurement of the residual appendage.
The prosthetist at that point determines the lengths of appropriate body sections and decides the area of bones and ligaments in the rest of the limb. Using the cast and the calculations, the prosthetist soon makes a mortar cast of the stump. This is most regularly made of mortar of paris, since it dries quickly and yields a complete impression. From the mortar cast, a precise copy of the stump is made. (Fu, Y. Harvey, E. C., Ghantasala, M. K., Spinks, G. M., 2005, Design, fabrication and testing of piezoelectric polymer PVDF microactuators)
Making the socket
Next, a sheet of clear thermoplastic is heated in a large oven and then vacuum-formed around the positive mould. In this process, the heated sheet is simply laid over the top of the mold in a vacuum chamber. If necessary, the sheet is heated again. Then, the air between the sheet and the mold is sucked out of the chamber, collapsing the sheet around the mold and forcing it into the exact shape of the mold. This thermoplastic sheet is now the test socket; it is transparent so that the prosthetist can check the fit.
Further on, a layer of clear thermoplastic is warmed in a huge stove and after that vacuum-conformed to the shape required. In this procedure, the warmed film is essentially laid over the highest point of the form in a vacuum chamber. If required, the sheet is melted once more. At that point, the air within the sheet and the form is removed out of the load, making the sheet go around the mould and driving it into the state of the required shape. This thermoplastic sheet is currently the test socket; it is transparent and the prosthetist can check the fit. (Jo, C., Naguib, H. E., Kwon, R. H. (2011). Fabrication, modelling and optimization of anionic polymer gel actuator.)
Impact of the innovation on people’s lives
Lately, specialised developments have consolidated to make artificial muscles significantly more effective, comfortable and imitative than prior adaptations. Future advancements are presumably going to rely upon the relationship between three demands — progress in engineering and medical procedure, amputees’ requests, and healthcare financing; adequate improvement and utilisation of mechanical solutions.
It is sensible to propose that the extensive applications of artificial muscles would altogether increase the consumption of electricity as they require a constant current. It is reasonable to envision that the requirements of fossil fuels will grow because of the increasing speed of usage.
However, this may not be the situation. As developments in batteries occur, the implementation of artificial muscle will have a lower requirement for power and can leave a lesser carbon footprint. Likewise, to electric vehicles, artificial muscles can be powered during the night or when not in use to further increase efficiency.
Impact in Sports
Recently, in previous decades, there have been innovative progressions that allow artificial limbs or prosthetics to be utilised at large levels of sports in games. Which brings up a problem inside the field of biomedical engineering, specifically artificial muscle and revolves around the controversy that artificial muscles perhaps give an edge to competitors with disabilities compared to abled competitors. Advanced artificial muscles could create an existence where athletes can accomplish superhuman feats thus having an unfair advantage when compared to abled athletes. Numerous disabled competitors do not need to stress over their inability and can pick whatever game they need to take an interest in and do well due to new technologies like an artificial muscle which can provide human-like functionality if not superhuman.
Modern society has created an image of artificial limbs or artificial muscles specifically, turning normal individuals into supersoldiers or superheroes, allowing them to bounce off buildings, travel as fast as vehicles, and be impenetrable. The reality is more prosaic, however, it is as significant, if not more for the troopers’ wellbeing and strength.
While military wounds and injuries require artificial muscles similar to civilian versions, mass reduction for healthy troopers is a critical implementation. Current soldiers have to carry from 40 to 80 kg. Military artificial muscles can grant soldiers to carry more mass than usual.
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