Biomedical Engineering 9: Get a Grip
In a culminating activity, students use their prior knowledge of the design process and opposing motion to design a mechanical grabber that can pick up and move an object. Students work together to achieve the goals laid out in a scenario by following the steps of the design process.
An article about researchers at a Canadian University who developed a better robotic arm prosthesis.
An article and video about designing a "universal robotic gripper".
Biomedical Engineering 8: Investigating Biomechanics
Students explore the biomechanics of muscles and tendons in a chicken wing as background knowledge to later design a gripping device. Students explore how the mechanics of motion are accomplished in a chicken wing. They explore the similarities and differences between a chicken wing and a human arm or hand. They discover that to move parts of the wing in opposing directions, two tendons are necessary, which will be useful to them in the subsequent design activity. Students also explore the internal structure of a chicken bone and compare it to their designed prototypes from the “Artificial Bone Model” activity. Students are introduced to the concept of biomimicry, which is a popular engineering approach that leads to a more limited, but often successful, solution.
Biomedical Engineering 7: Snack Bar
In this activity, the students attempt to satisfy nutritional criteria for a snack bar intended for different medical conditions. Students examine food that has been designed and engineered for specific medical conditions. They evaluate designs using a systematic process to determine how each design meets the specific condition. The evaluation depends on mathematical reasoning and analyzing data to nd the solution that best meets each criterion. Through this evaluation process of competing designs, students investigate food engineering and explore the central role of balance in nutrition.
An expansive site supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA that provides general information on food and nutrition.
This site provides a table of calories burned for various activities.
All USDA foods have a full report of their nutrients on this site.
Health.gov report on the appropriate amount of physical activity to improve health.
A Harvard press release that found that unhealthy diets cost about $1.50 less than health diets.
Biomedical Engineering 6: The Work of an Engineer
Students use prior experiences with scientific investigation and technological innovation to consider the close relationship between science and technology. They explore this relationship by reading about the work of scientists and engineers. The interplay between science, engineering, and technology is shown in the historical example of the development of penicillin. Students also consider the relationship between engineering, company profit, computers, and the environmental impact of engineers’ work.
The challenge of improving usability.
Michelle Khine used "Shrinky Dinks" to create diagnostic microfluidic chips that usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Universities based on the Biomedical Engineering programs.
A list of famous people who studied biomedical engineering in college.
A broad resource for understanding the field of biotechnology from an independent, non-profit organization.
Biomedical Engineering 5: Artificial Heart Valves
In this activity the students designed a prototype for a valve that could form the basis of a replacement heart valve. After some time spent trying out various ideas, students selected a prototype to refine in a more systematic way using the engineering design process. Then students presented their prototypes and discuss which ones might warrant further development. This activity provides students with the opportunity to design a prototype in a similar manner to the previous activity but with more independence in the process.
Questions and answers regarding having a surgical heart valve replacement.
A scientific paper on the differences between a mechanical and bioprosthetic heart valve.
This video shows a simulation of how blood flows into and out of the heart.
Biomedical Engineering 4: Artificial Bone Model
In this activity, students design a model of an artificial bone that has the highest possible strength-to-mass ratio. Students first apply the concepts of criteria and constraints to the challenge and then build prototypes to test. Students evaluate the test results and then optimize the design. The inquiry leads students through the process of designing artificial bones in a manner that parallels the design process used by engineers, although that process has not yet been formally introduced to students.
Article on young climbers that discusses the strength-to-weight ration of children and adults.
Biomedical Engineering 3: Bionic Bodies
Students read three case studies that explore how the subjects’ lives are affected by advances in biomedical devices. The cases focus on who can benefit from biomedical engineering and explores a bit about the process of bringing a device to market. In one case, there are ethical and social choices presented during the course of clinical trials. Finally, students read about the role of criteria and constraints in the design process. In the case studies, successful solutions to the problems depended on the ability of the biomedical engineers to precisely identify the problems’ criteria and constraints, know the relevant scientific principles, and understand the potential impact on people and the environment that can limit solutions. Students choose a medical issue and identify an engineering problem related to it that could be solved through the development of a device.
Amazing documentary about type 1 diabetes in teenagers.
Article about raising a teenager with type 1 diabetes.
Smithsonian TV series about roboticists attempting to create a bionic human.
Learn about a biomedical engineering issue related to hip replacements and how scientists solved the problem.
Biomedical Engineering 2: Me, an Engineer?
By simulating an injury to the dominant arm, students use their ingenuity and some simple supplies to invent solutions to problems they encounter in everyday tasks, including getting dressed and doing school work. Within the criteria and constraints of the problems, students navigate the environment and use iterative testing to solve the problem. Students learn about the crosscutting concept of structure and function and explore the interdependence and influence of science, engineering, and technology on society and the natural world. Students discover that engineers can develop either tools or strategies and that both are influenced by the ideas of an individual or group. Through the experience, students consider the practical impacts and needs of people with disabilities and the possibilities of biomedical engineering.
Biomedical Engineering 1: Save Fred
In this first activity of the biomedical engineering class, students examined the steps involved in problem solving by solving a simple physical problem. They learned that there are various approaches to scientific and engineering problem solving. Students will engage in a variety of scientific approaches throughout the activities in this unit on biomedical engineering. The activity elicits and builds on students’ ideas about how to define a problem and develop a successful solution. Students then compared and contrasted the process of solving the problem to the work of scientists and engineers. Students then generated questions and define problems in their everyday lives.