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Biomedical Engineering – Mechatronics & Biomechatronics

written by: •edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 5/6/2008

Mechatronics is the scientific word for the reverse engineering and/or copying of biological functions of an organism used in various appliances that today dot the landscape of living human beings.

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    Mechatronics is the scientific word for the reverse engineering and/or copying of biological functions of an organism used in various appliances that today dot the landscape of living human beings.

    Artificial intelligence is one such example, where instead of following repeated iterations of a particular code, the system taps into another source, and then tries to perform a different iteration; this is based on fuzzy logic. Fuzzy logic is something that humans have. We perform differently at different times on the same topic we are working on.

    We get input from our skin, our five senses, and also from the subconscious part of the brain, where our previous history of what we observed, learned and unlearned is stored in vast numbers, and it is triggered by a part of the brain which controls these memory banks. Similar experiments have been used in robots to see whether they can themselves use repositories of information stored, and whether the software for them can pick up random sequences of information, and work on them. It has succeeded to some extent, but a lot more needs to be done.

    Within the field of Mechatronics, lies the field of Biomechatronics, which is more concerned with the reverse engineering of the molecules and biological structures to help those in distress such as those with severed limbs,  pathological loss of hearing, sight, and so on.

    For those with severed limbs, often surgical intervention has helped to restore the limb back to near normal use. Here’s where the biological science, the medical science and the informatics disciplines merge. The incorporation of a microprocessor within the severed and reattached limb enables the person to get a near full use of that severed limb. All this has been possible due to the interaction between the three disciplines. More such research is leading to newer developments.

    For instance, artificial hearts are now being considered and are being tried out in research in ‘dry labs’ where only simulation is being done,  to see whether that artificial heart can really function or not.

    A more successful example of biomechatronics is the use of the cochlear implant which enables a nearly deaf person or even a blind person to get signals which can be used to restore part of the hearing or give enough signals which enable them to hear sounds, and signals that help them avoid colliding with object in their way.