Key Trends in Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineer

Biomedical engineering is an exciting, interdisciplinary field that is well-suited for individuals who like to think outside the box. It marries the principles and problem-solving techniques of engineering to the fields of medicine and biology.

Thanks to biomedical engineers, patients with painful hips can get implantable devices to replace them. Biomedical engineers have also been responsible for miraculous innovations such as pacemakers, medical imaging and coronary stents. If you have a passion for medicine and for figuring out how things work, this could be the perfect career path for you.

Virtual Reality in Medicine

Virtual reality devices can be entertaining, but they can also have life-changing applications for patients. One of the newest trends in biomedical engineering is the development of ways for doctors to interact with medical images. It’s common for modern hospitals to feature 3D medical imaging technology.

Virtual reality is revolutionizing medical imaging even further. With these devices, a doctor can tour a patient’s cardiovascular system, and even “slice” into the heart tissue to evaluate blood flow. Virtual reality could one day be a routine tool for planning complex surgeries. It also has possibilities in the medical education field. For example, medical students could perform virtual dissections instead of using cadavers.

Prosthetic Advances

Amputees face a lifetime of challenges. The earliest known prosthetic devices were synthetic toes created in ancient Egypt. The first patented limb was released in 1858—just in time for the devastating wave of amputations necessitated by the American Civil War. As important as these older prosthetic devices were, they couldn’t truly take the place of a natural limb. Modern biomedical engineers are working to change that. If you become a biomedical engineer, you could one day work to make prosthetic limbs even more lifelike and even more functional with sophisticated embedded computing chips and sensory feedback. In fact, sensory feedback has recently advanced to the point at which patients, without looking at what a prosthetic hand is grasping, can tell if the object is round or square, hard or soft.

Robotic Surgery

Robot-assisted surgery has become more commonplace but there’s always room for improvement and expansion. Biomedical engineers have been instrumental in improving the accuracy and precision of these instruments. Thanks to their innovative thinking, surgeons can confidently use the wristed instruments to manipulate the surgical tools in ways that their own hands can’t. Moving forward, biomedical engineering specialists will undoubtedly find new ways of improving the safety of robot-assisted surgery, as well as new applications for the technology.

Tissue Bioengineering

Regenerative medicine includes tissue bioengineering. This complex subspecialty involves the development of functional tissues made from biologically active cells and “scaffolds.” The purpose is to heal, restore or maintain damaged tissues and organs. For example, tissue bioengineering experts have managed to create viable artificial cartilage to replace damaged natural cartilage. This emerging field is continually evolving and it will benefit from new biomedical engineering graduates who bring fresh ideas.

The Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering program offered by Grand Canyon University is on the cutting-edge of modern innovation. Our College of Science, Engineering, and Technology invites future biomedical engineers to click on the Request More Information button at the top of the website. We look forward to welcoming you to our dynamic, faith-based learning community.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.