What I’m Actually Learning in Class: BME 201

Emily Uncategorized, Viterbi Class Leave a Comment

BME 201 has the formal title “Biomedical Engineering Practice.” It’s a rather broad title, that could mean a lot of different things. How to get a job in BME, what BMEs actually learn, what the field is comprised of, etc. The class isn’t a traditional class: take notes, do the homework, take the test, lather rinse repeat. Instead it’s a class of speakers who come in to talk about all different kinds of things.

The first week in this class we had the future head of the BME department, Dr. Ellis Meng, give a really nice overview of all of BME: what you do, what it is, where people go in the field, complications of the field. The next week a speaker from Viterbi Career Services gave a presentation about writing resumes and things to remember as we go to the career fair. This last week, my favorite presentation so far, Dr. Loeb came in to talk about his research at SynTouch: sensory capable prosthetic fingers.

Inside image of the structure of the artificial finger

Image of the structure of the artificial finger

His presentation started out by talking about the current technology widely available and how it “senses” and then compared it to the types of nerve endings in the actual finger, which I thought was a really good way to demonstrate what it is he’s trying to do: imitate nature. That’s sort of how I feel a lot of prosthetics and artificial body parts (organs, joints, etc.) work. They try to replicate a structure or method that nature has already implemented with technology instead of organic tissue.

The actual finger

The actual finger

After talking about how the finger works he went on to talk about testing the finger – from pressure, to texture, to grip, etc. It was a really cool look at just how many things that engineerings need to think about when they’re testing products to give the best overall product/experience. Especially with something that the average person takes for granted like touch.

I’m definitely looking forward to the future speakers coming in and seeing what problems they’re solving.

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