This semester, I’m taking some exciting biomedical engineering courses that directly apply to what I want to do after college. One of them is BME-416: Development and Regulation of Medical Products. The class meets once a week and we discuss the design, manufacturing, classification and quality procedures that go into the creation of medical devices. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit a medical device conference called, “MD&M West” held in the Anaheim Convention Center. Our professor organized transportation for about twenty of us, and at noon, we were off, excited for the experience ahead.
The first thing I noticed as I entered the conference was the vast size of the venue. I immediately understood why this was a three day event – there was absolutely no way you would be able to check everything out in one day. The conference consists of engineers and executives from all over the country converging to witness the largest collection of medtech suppliers. There were companies for all sorts of things including new materials, intelligent sensors, testing solutions, components, and packaging to name a few. Some of those in attendance included Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and Edwards Lifesciences.
We were some of the youngest people in attendance and people were able to pick us out in a crowd as being college students. It was a great conversation starter! Chatting with some of the suppliers and asking questions allowed us to better understand their purpose. One of the many things I discovered was that a boroscope is a small optical device that enables for detailed inspection during the manufacturing process of medical devices such as stents. A lot of the terminology used was very technical and foreign to us, but we walked away learning something new. At the end of one of the conversations, a representative asked for my resume, which I thankfully had on hand!
Some of the demos at the conference were very engaging and interactive. I got to play a game of ping pong against a robot! I’d like to think I held my own out there. I was also served an espresso by another robot. Overall, this experience has been a highlight of my semester thus far. It was inspiring and a little overwhelming to see all the different types of technologies that the field of Biomedical Engineering encompasses! The people we talked to were genuinely excited to see us in attendance and had some great words of advice. Maybe one day we will be the ones in their shoes, exhibiting advanced tech, hoping to educate and motivate the next generation of students to strive for even greater heights.
We ended up leaving the conference around 5:00 PM having been there for over 5 hours. This was a unique event that gave me a sense of the diversity within the profession and real-world products that engineers have worked on for the past several years and made me even more excited to be a contributor to the industry after graduating.