The Biomedical Engineer creates, transfers, integrates and applies knowledge of engineering design and problem solving skills with the medical, biological sciences and counterparts in the community to create new medical devices, solve clinical problems, and promote collaboration with industry. That begins from crutches to modern Diagnostic, Therapeutic methods to Prosthetics, Robotic surgery towards many more.
Prosthetics is an artificial device for the replacement of a missing body part such as arm, foot, knee, wrist and more. Along with the artificial materials, use of electronics converts the muscle movements into electrical signals is also present. Development of robotic multi fingered artificial hand with enhanced skill behavior and grasping ability is the recent advancement of this field. The future of prosthetics lies in coupling artificial intelligence with the robotics so that better adaptability of these artificial devices are achieved.
Robotic surgery is a method used to conduct operations in a minimally invasive manner i. e., with maximum precision, flexibility and control of surgery is made possible. The surgeon uses computers to control the action robotic hand, to which small tools are attached. This can be done by doctors at a remote place without being actually present in hospital. It has been found to be more advantageous than the traditional methods, since it involves less complication, further less rate of infection. Some of the well-known hospitals in Kerala like Aster Medcity, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, uses robotic surgery for operations nowadays.
Biomedical Engineering has a broad array of subfields that provides a vast area of higher study options. Post graduation courses include Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering, Master of Technology in Biomedical Engineering and also Master of Business Administration in Hospital Management. One can pursue their Post Graduation courses in India as well as abroad. The field of study includes:
Biomaterials:The materials used in the replacement of biological tissues. They are synthetic in nature, which is made as part of a living system or in contact with the same. These inert materials restore the proper functioning of living tissues and organs to enhance human health.
Biomedical optics:This is a field which concentrates on designing and applying advanced optical technology to solve the current issues dealt in medical field. Emergence of laser technology, photonics etc are contributing more to the world of diagnostics. Biomedical optics allows study of diseases from molecular levels to organ level.
Biomechanics:It is the study of movement of living things using conceptual and mathematical tools i. e., science of mechanics for the prevention of injury and in performance enhancement. The forces, both internal and external forces contribute to the movements. The effect of each force or the force caused by each movement is described by mechanics.
Neural engineering:This deals with understanding, correcting, substituting, and improving the properties of neural system. With neural engineering, it is possible to introduce new methods to interface the neural tissue and manmade technologies. Bionic arm, artificial eye etc. are some among the many examples of neural engineering.
Genetic engineering:It is the process of modifying an organism’s genome to change its characters in a desired manner. Human insulin, interferon etc can be produced using this technology. Certain diseases can be prevented, even cured using genetic modification.
Medical Imaging:It is the techniques and processes involved in the visual representation of internal organs, blood vessels or interior of body for diagnostics and in case of surgeries. The medical imaging techniques include MRI, X-Ray, PET, CT, Ultrasound, endoscopy, thermography, etc.
Job prospects for Biomedical Engineers are very high too. There are diverse areas and fields in which a Biomedical Engineer can excel. A Biomedical Engineer applies engineering principles in biology and medicine to enhance quality of life. Along with increasing population the healthcare industry is also on a rise today. The prominent companies in medical devices and healthcare industry include Siemens Healthcare, Johnson and Johnson, GE Healthcare, Medtronic, Philips Healthcare, Roche Diagnostics, Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGAA and goes on.
A Biomedical Engineer with knowledge in traditional engineering principles along with life science can design, develop and maintain medical devices. It is quite evident from the advanced technologies now in use in the medical field, that the Biomedical Engineer has surely made an impact in the Healthcare area. However a Biomedical Engineer’s role cannot be limited to just one field but can be extended to Bioinformatics, Biophotonics, Bio-nano Engineering, Genomics and Genetic Engineering, Systems Physiology, pharmaceuticals and so on. Thus a Biomedical Engineer is one who responds to the needs of society and works on providing the better solution to engineer a healthier society.