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 armís DSP interprets the signal and then sends a command to the hand motor, which closes the hand. (Source: Liberating Technologies)
I remember when I first graduated college in the early 80's nearly all of my peers were taking jobs with major defense contractors.The joke was, mechanical engineers made weapons.Civil Engineers make Targets.I really didn't like that joke and vowed to always work in industrieswhere technology advancements improve the human condition.After 30-some years, I admit I have spent some time in military contract work, but medical, automotive and communication have been my career.Seeing these latest prosthetics validates my earliest career choice.The Mechatronics interrelationship with human physiology and nervous system was once just a dream now being realized. Absolutely fantastic stuff.
Wow, what a great slide show, Chuck and what an impressive lineup of technology. I'm particularly struck by how far prosthesis have come with technical advances like robotics and sensors enabling the device to mimic real human movement and to tie into the nerves for natural dexerity. Amazing what engineers are accomplishing.
Five years ago, optical heart rate tracking seemed like an obvious successor to the popular chest straps used by many fitness buffs, but the technology has faced myriad engineering challenges on its way to market acceptance.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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