What Is Biomedical Engineering? Explore Specialties, Inventions & Trends

man explaining biomedical engineering

As medical and drug delivery devices grow increasingly complex, it becomes more common for other engineering specialties, such as biomedical engineering, to intersect with the mechanical development of a device. Gilero’s expansive service offerings enable us to provide holistic medical and drug delivery device solutions, and we have a number of skilled biomedical engineers on staff. Read on to learn more about this field of engineering and some of the emerging biomedical engineering innovations.

What is Biomedical Engineering (BME)?

Biomedical engineering is used to apply engineering principles to products specifically meant for use in healthcare. Biomedical engineers apply the principles and problem-solving techniques of engineering to biology and medicine.  This field focuses on advancements that improve human health and healthcare. There are many different areas of speciality within BME, covering many different areas of medicine. 

What Are Some Biomedical Engineering Specialty Areas?

  • Bioinstrumentation – the application of electronics and measurement principles to design and development devices used for diagnosing and treating biological systems
  • Biomaterials – substances that have been engineered to interact with biological systems for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes
  • Biomechanics – applies mechanics to biological or medical problems by studying the motion, structure, and function of biological systems in the body
  • Cellular and tissue engineering – uses the principles of engineering, chemistry, and physics to study cellular interactions
  • Clinical engineering – the application of biomedical research and technology to healthcare in clinical settings, such as hospitals or physicians’ offices
  • Orthopedic bioengineering – focused on the joints of the human body, orthopedic bioengineers develop products that allow for better movement and improved functioning within the body
  • Rehabilitation engineering – the use of engineering and biological principles to develop devices that assist individuals with disabilities and aid in the recovery of physical and cognitive functions lost due to injury or disease
  • Systems physiology – the use of engineering tools and strategies better understand how different living organisms function, ranging from bacteria to human beings

What Are Some Examples of Biomedical Engineering Inventions?

Engineers in this specialty are responsible for countless medical advancements. Commonly used biomedical engineering inventions, such as X-ray machines and ECGs, have made it easier for medical professionals to be able to detect complications and abnormalities, leading to better patient care. More recent advancements, such as bionic body parts, have been monumental in improving the lives of individuals who do not have standard use of their hands, legs, or other body parts. Some examples of biomedical engineering inventions and innovations include:

  • Prosthetics, from dentures to artificial limbs
  • Bionic contact lenses
  • Bionic exoskeleton
  • Robotic and laser instruments to assist in surgeries
  • Implantable medical and drug delivery devices
  • Medical imaging, such as X-ray and MRI machines 
  • Radiation therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Nanomaterials
  • Bioprinting
  • Genome editing

Biomedical Engineering Trends

Trends in biomedical engineering are constantly evolving. One area of BME where rapid innovation is occurring is tissue engineering. Tissue engineering and bioprinting allow for living tissue to be made from biologically active cells. With this trend, the artificial tissue produced through bioprinting can be used to create healthy skin for grafting or artificial organs for transplant into living donors.  Other biomedical technology examples and trending areas include:

  • Organs-on-chips
  • Microbubbles
  • Transdermal patches
  • Wearable medical devices
  • Surgical robotics
  • Nanorobots
  • Medical virtual reality
  • Artificial intelligence in medical imaging
  • Personalized medicine

The Importance of IoMT in Biomedical Engineering

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the collection of medical devices and applications that connect to healthcare IT systems through online computer networks. IoMT plays a big role in biomedical engineering, as many inventions are equipped with technology that captures and stores data for physicians to use to improve their patients’ care. New IoMT advances are shaping the world of biomedical engineering and there are now more possible applications of IoMT than before due to the growth of consumer devices. Some uses of IoMT in healthcare include: 

  • Real-time patient health monitoring
  • Personal emergency response system 
  • Vital sign tracking & diagnostics
  • Prosthetic limbs
  • Patient wearable devices
  • Ventilators
  • X-ray and MRI machines
  • Smart beds

What is the Future of Biomedical Engineering?

The field of biomedical engineering is constantly changing and growing. Revolutionary advances in medical imaging and medical diagnostics are changing the way medicine is practiced and will continue to transform the healthcare industry. Advancements in robotics, bionics, and prosthetics will continue to positively impact the lives of patients. Medical imaging technology is evolving to become even more precise, decreasing the need for more invasive diagnostic tests. Still in its early stages, stem cell research offers great promise for new medical treatments. As new medical and scientific discoveries are made, the work of biomedical engineers will be crucial in applying these concepts to the advancement of healthcare and humankind.

Gilero offers contract design and development, and manufacturing services for consumable medical devices, electromechanical medical devices, drug delivery systems and combination products. Skilled engineering teams, including dedicated biomedical engineers focused on design and product development, allow us to service medtech customers around the world. If you need engineering expertise for your next medical or drug delivery device project, contact us today!

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