Engineering in Medicine & Biology
Designing a Career in
Robot-assisted surgery. Photo courtesy The Acrobot
Company, Ltd. (www.acrobot.co.uk)
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Is biomedical engineering right for you?
What kind of career do you imagine foryourself? Doctor? Lawyer?
Scientist? Engineer? Teacher? CEO? Manager? Salesperson?
A university degree in biomedical engineering will prepare you for
all of these professions and more. Biomedical engineers use their expert-
ise in biology, medicine, physics, mathematics, engineering science and
communication to make the world a healthierplace. The challenges cre-
ated by the diversity and complexity of living systems require creative,
knowledgeable, and imaginative people working in teams of physicians,
scientists, engineers, and even business folk to monitor, restore and
enhance normal body function. The biomedical engineer is ideally
trained to work at the intersectionof science, medicine and mathematics
to solve biological and medical problems.
What do biomedical engineers do?
Perhaps a simpler question to
answer is what don’t biomedical
engineers do? Biomedical engi-
neers work in industry, academic
institutions, hospitals and govern-
ment agencies. Biomedicalengi-
neers may spend their days design-
ing electrical circuits and computer
software for medical instrumenta-
tion. These instruments may range
from large imaging systems such as
conventional x-ray, computerized
tomography (a sort of computer-
enhanced three-dimensional x-ray)
and magnetic resonanceimaging, to
small implantable devices, such as
pacemakers, cochlear implants and
drug infusion pumps. Biomedical
engineers may use chemistry,
Bioengineers help translate human organs such
as the heart into thousands of mathematical
equations and millions of data points which
then run as computer simulations. The result is
a visual simulation thatlooks and behaves
much like the real heart it mimics. Image cour-
tesy Peter Hunter, Bioengineering Institute,
Auckland, New Zealand.
Wearable computers can play a role in making health
care delivery possible for anyone, anyplace, anytime.
Photo courtesy Faustina Hwang.
physics, mathematical models
and computer simulation to
develop new drug therapy.
Indeeda considerable number
of the advances in understand-
ing how the body functions
and how biological systems
work have been made by bio-
medical engineers. They may
use mathematical models and
statistics to study many of the
signals generated by organs
such as the brain, heart and
skeletal muscle. Some bio-
medical engineers build artifi-
cial organs, limbs, knees, hips,