The Important Role of Biomedical Engineers
As the pandemic continues to put strain on healthcare systems around the world, Biomedical Engineers are at the heart of the medical innovations which power our response to the crisis. Ventilators, breathing tubes, inhalers, face shields, testing kits, and more are all medical technologies which would not exist nor be safe and effective if it were not for the hard work of Biomedical Engineers. BMEs also play crucial roles in the development and disbursement of vaccines, from initial research right through to storage, packaging, and shipment. In these ways and more, Biomedical Engineers make a difference and save lives.
BME Projects with COVID-19 Applications
A couple of this year's Senior Design Projects have applications pertinent to the response to COVID-19.
Intubation is a technique used to place a breathing tube down a patient's trachea using a laryngoscope (metal blade like tool) so that the doctors can control the patient's breathing during praocedures like surgery or care of COVID-19. The Intubation Training System team designed a device that can teach medical residents and other professionals proper intubation technique in order to decrease the number of complications when they start intubating patients.
The Vaccine Shipping team developed a product that could be used to keep vaccines or biologic drugs cold for longer periods of time. Temperature sensitive vaccines and biologic drugs can become inactive if they are outside of the appropriate temperature range. By having better temperature control, the product could reduce waste and ensure people receive effective medicines.
Ahron Wayne, BME Grad Student, Gives Back
I'm mainly handing the 3D printed parts to a group that's finishing and distributing them to hospitals and doctors who need them. That group includes our very own Dr. Li's Robotics team and their friends from high school and middle school! At the same time, I'm also serving a couple of businesses who need rapid prototyping to properly mass produce these items. For instance, one company wants to injection mold flexible masks that would work better. They could make thousands a day once they get everything set up. I was able to turn around 3D printed flexible examples in a day, instead of relying on a mail-order service that could take a week or more.
All of this and more is featured in the full Spring 2020 BME Newsletter found here!