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Biomedical Engineering and Physics

In: Science

Submitted By AyeePancho
Words 712
Pages 3
John Smith
Dr. Madaro
University Physics I
Spring 2014

Biomedical Engineering and the Future of Modern Medicine

I have always been interested in math and science, but my interest developed into a fascination this year in physics class. I enjoyed being able to apply all of the laws and theories that we learned in class to real-world situations. I liked being able to figure out the distance an object traveled just by knowing the acceleration and speed, finding the vertical and horizontal components of a force, and solving for the coefficient of friction of a surface. I loved that every concept seemed to build on the one before it, and how they all helped me understand the world in a way I never had before. Whenever I think about my future, what I want to study, and how I want to make a living, I always think of engineering- a career that would allow me to develop this fascination with the way the world works and to apply my knowledge to a project that could help improve peoples' lives. I want to go into this field to develop technology that could help cure disease or improve the quality of life of those with serious medical conditions. The concepts of Physics play a crucial part in the everyday work of Biomedical Engineers, specifically in the invention of prosthetic limbs, artificial organs, and improved hearing aids. "The first artificial limbs were stiff and did not have joints that bent like real arms, hands, or legs" (Woods 40). The invention of the artificial limbs was a major milestone in the medical world. Artificial limbs work so effectively and look so convincing; people might not even notice someone wearing one. Prosthesis is a device used to replace a lost limb. In addition to this, prosthesis can result in cosmetic improvements for the patient and build self-confidence. After years of research, science and technology have combined to make prosthetic limbs more efficient, comfortable, and lifelike than ever before. However, most people are not aware of the physics behind prosthetics. Prosthetic devices must be designed to: fit the person, withstand the force of that person's weight, withstand the person's motion, be durable for the person's activity level, and be suitable for the person's environment.
Another recent development in my field of study is the invention of working artificial organs. Due to the insufficient amount of donated organs, scientists have begun to dream about growing transplantable organs in labs. Although this idea may consist of more cell biology, we cannot neglect the physics that goes into the creation of artificial organs. Cochlear implants, also known as hearing aids, have been around for about 3 decades and are among the most successful hearing devices out there. Hearing aids are basically just a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker, just a rock concert in a smaller box. Sound waves make the membrane of a microphone move a little bit, this creates a small electric current, an amplifier (transistors) uses battery power to make a bigger electric current, which it uses to make a speaker membrane vibrate a larger amount. Digital ones also have a computer, which turns the incoming sound into numbers, does some math to remove certain frequencies and amplify other frequencies more and then generate an output signal that goes to the speaker. But the problem with these traditional hearing aids is that they are awfully clunky and require hardware to be mounted onto the skull, which can limit their use in the shower or other weather conditions. However, scientists are now developing a new design that eliminates the external hardware and allows it be charged from a wireless phone.

Although Biomedical Engineering is mostly heavily reliant on biology and chemistry, one cannot forget about the concepts of physics that are also applied. This career is my main focus because I can help many people without having to consult with each and every one.

Works Cited
"A Hearing Device With No Stigmatizing External Hardware." - IEEE Spectrum. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2014.
Woods, Michael, and Mary B. Woods. The History of Medicine. Minneapolis: Twenty First Century, 2006. Print.
"Working Kidney Created in Bioengineering Lab - CNET." CNET. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2014.

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