How Biomedical Engineering is Changing the World

by Modis on March 20, 2017

biomedical engineering at work​Biomedical engineering is a field on the rise. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 23 percent job growth in the area by 2024, a much faster pace than the 7 percent anticipated for all occupations. This growth is fueled by the evolving need for technology and medicine to intersect and provide innovative solutions in response to the increasing demand for innovation. Just how are biomedical engineers changing the world? Let’s take a look at some of the recent breakthroughs in this engineering specialty.

3D Printing Prosthetic Hands

Imagine needing a prosthetic hand only to learn the cost is out of scope for your budget. Now imagine that you’re a child facing this reality. Biomedical engineering students in Ohio have created 3D printed prosthetic hands to bridge this gap for local children. For only $20, they can create a custom, functional hand and have it to the patient in about a week.​ So far, they have built 42 hands through their Enable UC program and hope to see this number grow even more in the future.

Extending the Viability of Donated Organs

As soon as a donor’s organs are available for use, the ​window of time they are usable immediately begins to shrink. Biomedical engineers and surgeons at Columbia University joined forces to increase the amount of time donated organs are viable for use. Driven by the need to increase the number of donor lungs available to meet the demand for them, the team of researchers were able to increase the length of time donated lungs are viable to over 36-56 hours. This will help to close the shortage gap between those needing a lung transplant and the viable donated lungs available.

Human-Powered Centrifuges for Medical Diagnoses

In spite of advances in medical technology, lack of electricity in the developing world often prevents modern breakthroughs from being usable on a global scale. Realizing the need for human-powered devices to resolve this gap, a team at Stanford University created the paperfuge – an adaptation of the whirligig toy that separates blood components in less than 90 seconds. The paperfuge is especially anticipated to help with malaria diagnoses, offering the ability to isolate the malaria parasite from blood in just 15 minutes. Learn more about its creation and benefits in the video below.

Non-Invasive Biopsy to Detect Skin Cancer

Skin ​cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Early detection can help prevent the cancer from spreading, but the scope of invasive biopsies often prevents patients from pursuing them. While a typical invasive skin biopsy needs time to be processed and examined under a microscope, non-invasive biopsies developed by National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering researchers look at a patient’s skin directly through a microscope, yielding results within minutes. This quicker process will allow treatment in patients with skin cancer to begin immediately, helping to prevent skin cancer from reaching advanced stages.

Want to Work in Biomedical Engineering?

As a leading engineering recruiting firm, we’ve always got opportunities for biomedical engineers. Right now, we’re working with a major medical device company to hire the following positions:

Interested? Apply today!​

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