Written by Tanishq Agarwal, a grade 12 student
“The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art” – Leonardo da Vinci.
Each organ of our body is a culmination of millions of years of evolution; a culmination of millions of years of biological and mechanical perfection.
If you see, the body is not so different from a factory: our skeleton is the building that houses everything, our heart – the pump, our lungs – the ventilation, our blood – the transport, and the brain – the organ that controls how the factory will be run. Now, this factory does need external help from time to time. Here, it relies on a doctor to help ensure that everything is running well. However, even a doctor needs his tools, to carefully assess and fix the body.
This is where Biomedical Engineering comes in.
As a biomedical engineer, you are both a doctor and engineer at the same time, and your job is to use your principles of engineering and design and apply them to medicine, to develop technologies for human welfare. Think of the X-Ray machine, think of the CT scanner, think of the smartwatch on your wrist. They are all products of this vast field.
What do you need to be a Biomedical Engineer?
To be a biomedical engineer demands the knowledge of nearly all professional fields: Chemistry, Mechanics, Biology, Design, and even Law. Not only does it accept people from all kinds of backgrounds, but it also allows you to join nearly every professional field out there.
What does it mean to be a Biomedical Engineer?
Now I’m sure we’re all familiar with the humble stethoscope and the oximeter(which we have become all too familiar with in the past year). Both these technologies were created out of need; both products of Biomedical engineering.
Today biomedical engineers are responsible for having developed a vast number of life-saving technologies:
Prosthetics: Artificial limbs, hip joints.
Pacemakers that are capable of replacing the heart.
Homodialaters for purifying blood.
Imaging solutions: X rays, MRIs
Even spacesuits of the coming age will be a product of the same field.
So you can see how biomedical engineering is potentially responsible for all medical devices in today’s world, and how it will continue to have immense scope in the future.
How do you get into this field?
To pursue biomedical engineering, you do not need any specific educational background. All you need is the desire to help people, and the passion to innovate, and improve existing technologies.
How is this different from being a doctor?
Being a doctor is a prestigious profession, and I will not object to that in any way. But the work of a doctor has its limitations.
You get restricted to only one specific medical field.
To detect or diagnose a disease in an individual, you often have to wait for the diagnostic technology to be available.
You can only help out one patient at a time.
As a biomedical engineer, however, you are not restricted to innovate in any one specific field.
You can get engaged in any medical field, no matter how niche, or wide.
You are directly involved in creating the technologies that will actually help people, technologies that will help diagnose, and improve future outlooks for patients with life-threatening diseases.
And lastly, the technology that you will develop, will help many if not thousands of people throughout the globe.
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