Biomechatronics is a new field of mechanical engineering. This is the first article of a series that will deal with biomechatronics. Many more articles will follow this one, all written about different aspects of biomechatronics, so you will able to grasp all the basic concepts of this new and exciting field of engineering and biomedical engineering.
Biomechatronics: an Interdisciplinary Science
Biomechatronics is an interdisciplinary science. It draws all its basic concepts and knowledge from a variety of fields and areas of science including biology, mechanics, electronics, and mechanical engineering. More specifically, biomechatronics deals with the interaction between organs of the human body and electromechanical devices or systems. Biomechatronics in not new. In fact, a pacemakers (developed long time ago) is a prefect example, and probably one of the first applications, of biomechatronics. A pacemaker is an electrical device that interacts with a human organ (the heart) so you have it there: an example of biomechatronics.
Biomechatronics: Some Applications
The possibilities of biomechatronics are endless and some of them may be on the border between reality and science fiction but in essence it is a science that can contribute greatly to the improvement of the quality of life of our society.
Here are some of the possibilities that biomechatronics can offer:
-A pancreas pacemakers for diabetics: imagine a device that could sense your sugar blood levels an adjust insulin levels accordingly.
-An electronic muscle stimulators for stroke and accident survivors: people who are in car accidents usually remain disable because of loss of certain muscle functions. Imagine a device that can stimulate damaged muscles and make those muscle contract or relax according to what is needed.
-A digital camera that can be controlled mentally so blind people can get some sort of vision sensation
-A digital microphone that could be implanted in deaf people so they could hear again or for the first time
These are some examples were biomechatronics can help. There are many more. In the next few lessons we will examine basic concepts of biomechatronics before going into details of specific applications. This way we will be prepared to understand the interactions between human structures, organs and systems with electromechanical devices which is the basis of biomechatronics
Kralj A and Bajd T. 1989. Functional electrical stimulation: standing and walking after spinal cord injury. Boca Raton, Florida, CRC Press Inc.
Smith RV. 1990. Audiobiofeedback for tasks. In: R. V. Smith and J. H. Leslie,eds., Rehabilitation Engineering . Boca Raton, CRC Press. pp. 29- 78
World Health Organization. 1980. International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps. Geneva