8 ways electrical engineering is changing medicine

Electrical engineering (EE) is a field that goes beyond electricity and electrical components. In today’s world, EE’s are used frequently in the medical profession. Here are eight ways that EE’s are contributing to the medical field by developing products or software, and researching or working collaboratively with researchers in biomedical fields.

1.)   Apps
Doctors now have the ability to hit an app, input symptoms, and obtain a proper diagnosis. This may seem unreliable; however, there is a community of doctors that contribute their medical expertise, which helps other doctors.

2.)   Paperless charts
Paperless charts are charts that are on-line. Wherever a patient goes to receive treatment, their medical record follows. This system of record keeping helps medical professionals make proper diagnosis immediately, because of the access to the patient’s history and care.

3.)   Developing regenerative tissues
It involves developing materials that can correct themselves — tissue engineering, stem cell research, and artificial muscle. These innovations are dependent on a good understanding of life sciences and living tissue, as well as a solid understanding of physical sciences. 

4.)   Robotic systems
Nanorobotic devices would be a boon to the biomedical arena, as they would offer the ability to manipulate single cells, to deliver small amounts of material at precise locations, and, in general, do useful physical work on the atomic scale. ees and medicine

5.)   Early detection tools
A suite of tools uses optical technologies to analyze cells for the presence of cancer. It has shown that nanoscale changes in cells caused by cancer can be detected using optical techniques called partial-wave spectroscopy, low-coherence enhanced backscattering spectroscopy, and four-dimensional elastic light-scattering fingerprinting.

6.)   Contact, flow, and touch sensors
Contact sensors could be used in catheters for minimally invasive surgery, flow sensors could be used in IV lines, and touch sensors are already used in robotic surgical tools to help increase efficiency and accuracy.

7.)   Computerized catalogs of health information
It enhances the medical system’s ability to track the spread of disease and analyze the comparative effectiveness of different approaches to prevention and therapy.

8.)   Tools and techniques
EE’s are developing new systems to use genetic information, sense small changes in the body, assess new drugs, and deliver vaccines. More effective tools and techniques for rapid analysis and diagnosis are used for a variety of drugs, quick screenings, and proper treatments.

For all future, aspiring engineers and those currently in the field of engineering, working in the medical field may be an option to consider.

Special thanks to: The National Academy of Engineering of the National Academies; The University of Minnesota; Center for Engineering in Medicine

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