Physicians get the credit for saving lives, but the behind-the-scenes work of engineers improves the lives of countless people in hospitals across the country every day.
Bionic limbs, innovative infusion systems, and transcranial doppler brain scanners are just some of the innovations engineers are bringing to the exploding medical design arena.
Click the image below to see 13 significant advances in medical technology:
Jesse Sullivan, a Tennessee power company lineman whose arms were amputated after he was electrocuted on the job, now has artificial limbs that let him rotate his wrists and upper arms, bend his elbow, grip with his hand, and, incredibly, feel. Sullivan's arm employs nerves from the chest muscle. When that muscle contracts, a myoelectric sensor atop his skin detects the contraction and sends it to an amplifier and then to a digital signal processor (DSP) in the Boston Digital Arm. The arm’s DSP interprets the signal and then sends a command to the hand motor, which closes the hand. (Source: Liberating Technologies)
EZ-IO is one of my favorite technology stories, EEMedic. I'm glad to hear the technology is having such a lifesaving effect in the field. The story behind the invention is amazing. The physician who invented it was in part inspired by the work of his father, an automotive engineer.
Chuck, I'm amazed you remember that one--heck, I'm amazed I did. I'd completely forgotten it until I saw that first slide in this slideshow. And seeing that slide gave me a shiver--it had scared the heck out of me when I saw it the first time. It is weird to see that old science fiction coming alive.
Charles, now a day's medical electronics becomes more complex in terms of technology and nearer in terms of usability. In hospitals, most of the common medical procedures are replaced by black box devices, which can perform at a faster speed and accurate diagnosis. I read that some research is going for artificial limbs, which are similar to biological limb having sensitivity.
Nice show Charles. I actually was fortunate enough to see Dr. Herr's keynote address at last year's Sensor Expo in Rosemount, IL. In Ann's recent article on Robots in operating theatres I had thought of Dr. Herr. Good to see him included in this. And yes the comment about the Twilight Zone highlights the neccessity of a vibrant 'arts' community to foster ideas that may some day become reality by influencing & inspirinhg young minds to higher goals!!
I have actually used the EZ-IO device on several patients in cardiac arrest. As an EE and a paramedic, I am always amazed at the engineering marvels that enable me to do a better job as a paramedic. I am amazed at how easy, fast, and effective it is to use. It can be tough getting an IV started on a patient in cardiac arrest, especially when they are wedged in some very tight awkward space (if there are other EMS providers out there, you KNOW what I am talking about)! When trying to do advanced skills like intubation, IV's, medications, defibrillation, etc in the field, it's not as easy as on a nice clean emergency room bed at just the right height with plenty of light and manpower. Every second counts in cardiac arrest and this device is simple and fast! It may be a little nerve racking the first time you use it to "drill" into someone's bone, but when you see positive results from it the first time, you really learn to love it! It allows a LOT more IV fluid to run than I ever thought it would, and I have given a medication, done a few compressions, and seen EKG changes in a matter of seconds! EMS is becoming more advanced every day, and anything that makes the job easier and more effective is always appreciated!
Great slideshow, Chuck. That first one reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode I saw as a kid, where the lead character discovers to his horror that he's actually an android by picking at what appears to be a scab or something on his wrist, and peeling up his "skin" to reveal electronics underneath. Here's a photo from that scene:
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.