Among the vast specializations of Engineering, one stands out above all during recent times, Biomedical Engineering has been one of the fastest-growing engineering majors in recent times. The complex field has an astonishing 37.14% growth rate in Texas alone and a 10% growth rate nationally. This means that a projected 1,200 jobs will open each year for the next decade. Let's explore the qualities of Biomedical Engineering and the reason for its sudden growth:
Biomedical engineering calls for the combination of engineering, biology, and medical sciences to create innovative solutions, ranging from medical devices such as prosthetics to diagnostic tools, pioneering modern healthcare. These technologies play a pivotal role in enhancing patient care, improving the accuracy of diagnostics, and treatment options ultimately contributing to improved medical outcomes. This blog post will explore key areas of biomedical engineering and health tech, including medical imaging, wearable devices, biomedical operating devices, prosthesis, and future prospects.
I. Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Devices
Medical Imaging devices allow trained medical personnel to peer into your body and diagnose physiological problems. Without this revolutionary technology medical professionals would be blindly operating on your body without any idea of what is truly wrong with you nor its causes and effects. Additionally, a lack of innovation in this field would lead us to fall behind in the ever-changing world of healthcare and be blind to changing forms of diseases and injuries. Imaging technologies such as MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, PET scans, etc. all serve a similar purpose, to provide accurate diagnostics and allow professionals to look into your body without being invasive. The biggest benefit of diagnostic devices is early disease detection and monitoring, as any life-altering disease can be caught in its early stages and put to stop before any irreversible harm is inflicted on the body.
The patient taking an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) with a 2D scan of a part of his brain.
II. Wearable Health Devices
Another revolutionary field biomedical engineers contribute to is wearable health devices that can monitor the user's health, BPM, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, calories burned, and other types of health-related info useful to the user. Furthermore, these devices allow for a non-invasive and easily accessible way of viewing this information. With biomedical engineers, these devices have gotten more accurate and accessible, unforeseen years ago. Currently, countless engineers are working to create a non-invasive device that can measure a diabetic's glucose and insulin levels without the need to prick their fingers.
III. Biomedical Operating Devices and Prosthesis
Biomedical operating devices and machines, along with prosthetics, constitute remarkable achievements at the crossroads of engineering and healthcare, advanced by the ingenuity of biomedical engineers. Biomedical operating devices and machines refer to equipment utilized in medical procedures, encompassing everything from the aforementioned imaging machines that enable detailed internal views of the body to surgical robots that enhance precision during operations. Prosthetics, on the other hand, stand as personalized replacements for lost limbs, reinstating both physical functionality and the essence of independence for the patient. Biomedical engineers have played an instrumental role in propelling this field forward, combining their expertise in engineering and medical sciences to innovate devices that augment patient care. Through collaborations with medical professionals, meticulous designs, and the integration of emerging technologies, they continually redefine the modern limits in healthcare.
IV. Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering
Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering were once an idea of the future and now are a testament to the astonishing contributions Biomedical engineers have made to today's society. Regenerative medicine involves harnessing the body's healing mechanisms to restore damaged tissues, while tissue engineering focuses on creating biomaterials that facilitate tissue growth, presenting novel solutions to medical challenges. Biomedical engineers play a pivotal role in advancing these fields, contributing their expertise to pioneering breakthroughs. For instance, they have developed methods to 3D print functional organs using a patient's cells, pushing the boundaries of what's achievable in organ transplantation.
A total artificial heart developed at ETH Zurich
Can you believe that? A heart made out of inorganic materials that functions the same as a developed heart! What do you think this can lead to in the future?
Similarly, the creation of tissue-engineered skin for burn victims showcases the transformative potential of blending biological insights with engineering knowledge for the greater good. These remarkable applications underscore the complex yet astonishing work of interdisciplinary collaboration.
V. Challenges and Future Prospects
Navigating the landscape of biomedical engineering comes with its set of challenges and promising prospects. Presently, the implementation of health tech solutions encounters hurdles stemming from data privacy concerns and varying technology standards. Regulatory complexities and interoperability issues further amplify the intricacies of integrating these innovations into existing healthcare systems. However, the future holds exciting possibilities as biomedical engineering continues to advance. Anticipated developments include AI-driven diagnostics for faster and more accurate disease detection, personalized treatments tailored to individuals' genetic makeup, and expanded telemedicine capabilities for broader access to medical expertise. These potential advancements underscore the transformative impact that biomedical engineering can have on the healthcare landscape, promising improved patient outcomes and a more connected and effective healthcare system. Overall, Biomedical engineering is an ever-changing major that delves into countless fields all requiring knowledge from biology, medicine, and engineering. From medical imaging to tissue engineering this growing career path holds immense value to the future of modern society. Will you be going down this path?
Acharya, Soumyadipta. “Imaging & Medical Devices.” Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering, 21 Sept. 2021, www.bme.jhu.edu/research/research-areas/imaging-and-medical-devices/.
Bureau of Labor. “Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2022, www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/biomedical-engineers.htm#:~:text=5%25-,Employment%20of%20bioengineers%20and%20biomedical%20engineers%20is%20projected%20to%20grow,on%20average%2C%20over%20the%20decade.
Neber, Jacqueline. “The next Generation of Prostheses.” Catalyst, 24 Dec. 2015, catalyst.jhu.edu/2015/12/23/the-next-generation-of-prostheses/.
“Various Types of Medical Imaging Explained.” Various Types of Medical Imaging Explained, 22 Apr. 2019, www.pbmchealth.org/news-events/blog/various-types-medical-imaging-explained.
“What Is Biomedical Engineering?” Michigan Technological University, 26 May 2023, www.mtu.edu/biomedical/department/what-is/.
“What Is Regenerative Medicine?” Regenerative Medicine at the McGowan Institute, 26 July 2023, mirm-pitt.net/about-us/what-is-regenerative-medicine/.