Because of extensive technological advancements, engineering disciplines have expanded to include categories like biomedical engineering. One may ask what is biomedical engineering really? Most university engineering departments that offer degrees in this category define it as a combination study of biological science and engineering. Since the field is relatively new, the category's definition is still somewhat under construction by academic and industry experts. Here are some popular subcategories of study within the bio-medical engineering field as well as some similar engineering disciplines.

Aspects of Biomedical Engineering

Those performing in biomedical engineering roles in hospitals, public health laboratories, and medical research facilities must have formal training to support their work. In times past, these scientific analysts pursued degrees in biology, mathematics or physics as a foundation for their real world projects. Modern analysts are steered towards participating in university degree programs in biomedical engineering with concentrations in bioelectrical, biochemical and bio-mechanical engineering. The bio-electrical subsystem involves the application of electrical engineering and computer science concepts to improve computerized medical instrumentation and imaging technology. Those who practice bio-chemical engineering apply principles of chemical engineering to study the reaction of cells when scientists introduce various substances into a test environment. Biomechanical engineering deals with the production of tangible mechanically based medical devices.

Similar Engineering Disciplines

The functions of biomedical engineering overlap with those of many other engineering disciplines. Once the biomedical engineering field matures, industry experts will likely better define its relationship with similar engineering disciplines. The most common overlap in function occurs in the biotechnology field. The biotechnology field may produce solutions through research and experimentation that apply to the medical community. However, this is not always the case. For example, products of biotechnology can involve the development of prosthetic limbs for medical application or create a non-toxic cleaning solution that utilizes nature's own micro-organisms. Genetic and Tissue engineering are also similar disciplines with overlapping functions. For instance, these types of engineering disciplines may conduct research on how to regrow human tissue, and the results would help those suffering from severe burns to regrow lost skin tissue. The study of tissue engineering can surpass medical application and apply to various industries including agriculture.

Current Achievements in the Field of Bio-medical Engineering

The field of bio-medical engineering began only fifty years ago, but from that time until now practitioners of biomedical engineering have made significant progress. Biomedical engineers produced many items like the pacemaker, x-ray and patient monitoring devices. For instance, there was an account of a hospital being able to significantly increase capacity for its intensive care unit (ICU). Before, doctors compelled patients to wait if the ICU was full, and they had to make judgement calls to better determine ICU priority. Modern bio-medical engineering practices led to a better monitoring system for the ICU. Hospital administrators and board members made the decision to expand the hospital ICU facilities based upon the improved monitoring system.


Although modern science and technology experts thoroughly grasp engineering concepts and practices, many aspects of living cells within humans, animals and plants remain a mystery. The study of biomedical engineering seeks to apply engineering principles to medical issues using knowledge of biological sciences; expected results could include improved early detection of diseases or even better treatment options. One of the key reasons for the birth of the biomedical engineering field is the recognition that there is life changing discoveries still to be made.

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