Examples of Specific Activities
Work done by biomedical engineers may include a wide range of activities such as:
* Artificial organs (hearing aids, cardiac pacemakers, artificial kidneys and hearts, blood oxygenators, synthetic blood vessels, joints, arms, and legs).
* Automated patient monitoring (during surgery or in intensive care, healthy persons in unusual environments, such as astronauts in space or underwater divers at great depth).
* Blood chemistry sensors (potassium, sodium, O2, CO2, and pH).
* Advanced therapeutic and surgical devices (laser system for eye surgery, automated delivery of insulin, etc.).
* Application of expert systems and artificial intelligence to clinical decision making (computer-based systems for diagnosing diseases).
* Design of optimal clinical laboratories (computerized analyzer for blood samples, cardiac catheterization laboratory, etc.).
* Medical imaging systems (ultrasound, computer assisted tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, etc.).
* Computer modeling of physiologic systems (blood pressure control, renal function, visual and auditory nervous circuits, etc.).
* Biomaterials design (mechanical, transport and biocompatibility properties of implantable artificial materials).
* Biomechanics of injury and wound healing (gait analysis, application of growth factors, etc.).
* Sports medicine (rehabilitation, external support devices, etc.).
Where do Biomedical Engineers Work?
Biomedical engineers are employed in universities, in industry, in hospitals, in research facilities of educational and medical institutions, in teaching, and in government regulatory agencies. They often serve a coordinating or interfacing function, using their background in both the engineering and medical fields. In industry, they may create designs where an in-depth understanding of living systems and of technology is essential. They may be involved in performance testing of new or proposed products. Government positions often involve product testing and safety, as well as establishing safety standards for devices. In the hospital, the biomedical engineer may provide advice on the selection and use of medical equipment, as well as supervising its performance testing and maintenance. They may also build customized devices for special health care or research needs. In research institutions, biomedical engineers supervise laboratories and equipment, and participate in or direct research activities in collaboration with other researchers with such backgrounds as medicine, physiology, and nursing. Some biomedical engineers are technical advisors for marketing departments of companies and some are in management positions.