Biomedical Engineering

General Overview

Biomedical engineering is a relatively new field of engineering and specifically relates to engineering that involves biology and medicine. The industry looks at applying engineering problem solving to the diagnosis, rehabilitation and therapy in the medical sciences field.

 

Biomedical engineers must have an understanding of all areas of engineering due to the broad nature of their field. Mechanical, electrical, physiological and robotic engineering knowledge can be called upon as well as an in-depth understanding of biological systems. Biomedical engineers will have to design systems to perform particular functions such as restoring lost bodily functions, improving the quality of life for people. Due to the wide array of different applications for biomedically engineered devices, engineers often seek theories from the electrical and electronics field, chemical engineering and advanced material science.  Day to day biomedical engineers are responsible for the research, design, maintenance and repair of medical devices and equipment.

 

A typical device that is biomedically engineered  - an artificial robotic hand that can be utilised by amputees. Source: www.theopenacademy.com

One of the first known examples of biomedical engineering was from 3000 years ago where a leather prosthetic toe was used and found on a Egyptian mummy, however, the main developments and innovations within this discipline over the past 50 years with the design of devices such as pacemakers, artificial organs and limbs. Today the biomedical sector is fast growing with high demand due to an aging population requiring more medical care. The research and development within biomedical engineering makes it an exciting area for engineers to work in today. Technological advances in other areas such as materials and computing continuously open new doors as to what’s possible.

Required Knowledge

Skills and Expertise

  • Understanding of living systems from a biological and physics perspective

  • Broad understanding of all the different fields within engineering and how different theories can be applied.

  • Creative thinking and out of the box problem solving techniques.

  • Strong knowledge of fundamental physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology principles.

  • Teamwork and communication to collaborate with different fields of engineering and even within other industries.

  • Time management, organisation and project management to be able to manage multiple research and development projects at once.

 

Software Understanding

  • Bioinformatics software (Blast, Bowtie, Clustal) - Used for understanding biological data.

  • Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages (E.g. CATIA, Solidworks, Autocad, Inventor, PTC Creo)

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Software (E.g. Ansys, Abaqus, Nastran, HyperWorks)

  • Word processing, spreadsheets and presentations (E.g. MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint; Google Docs, Sheets and Slides)

Example Jobs
  • Design Engineer

  • Research and Development Engineer

  • Electronics Engineer

  • Prototype Technician

  • Project Engineers

  • Test Engineer

Institutions

UK: Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), Biomedical Engineering Division (BmED), The Institute for Engineering and Technology (IET)

USA: Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET)

Luke T Seal Engineering