Biomechatronics Research and Development

(combining "biology", "mechanics", and "electronics")

1. The science concerned with the action of forces, internal or external, on the living body.
2. The study of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms.
3. The study of body movements and of the forces acting on the musculoskeletal system.
4. The application of mechanics to the structures of living animals; especially, to the forces on the skeleton caused by the muscles, gravity, and resulting movements of the locomotor system.

Biomechanics is a curious blend of mechanical engineering and biology. It was born of the recognition that parts of a living organism may be viewed as mechanical devices to which engineering concepts; such as, fluid pressure, mechanical stress and friction can be applied.

New York Times, January 16, 1979.
1. The interdisciplinary study of biology, mechanics, and electronics.
2. The applications of various aspects of biology, mechanics, and electronics.
3. The use of biomedical knowledge for the development and optimization of mechatronic systems.

Interactivity of biological and electromechanical devices

This covers bionics (biology for engineering) as well as biomedical engineering and its related (engineering for biology).

Biomechatronics focuses on the interactivity of biological organs (including the brain) with electromechanical devices and systems.

  • Universities and research centers worldwide have taken notice of biomechatronics in light of its potential for development of advanced medical devices and life-support systems.
  • Primitive biomechatronic devices have existed for quite awhile.
  • The heart pacemaker and the defibrillator are examples.
  • More advanced-pragmatic biometchatronic possibilities that scientists foresee in the near future include:
  1. Pancreas pacemakers for diabetics.
  2. Mentally controlled electronic muscle stimulators for stroke and accident survivors.
  3. Cameras that can be wired into the brain allowing blind people to see.
  4. Microphones that can be wired into the brain allowing deaf people to hear.
History consists of a series of accumulated imaginative inventions.

Proposed Applications of Biomechatronics

  • The study of movements, movement coordination and muscle functioning is crucial to understanding the basic requirements of various orthotic and prosthetic medical aids.
  • Robotics and virtual reality techniques are employed to improve rehabilitation applications for patients having problems with walking after a stroke.
  • Interaction between the human body and medical aids for information exchange (neural interfacing), is becoming increasingly important.
  • Progress in this field has created the possibility of designing intelligent prostheses and orthotic systems that may adapt to the user's requirements and conditions of use.
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and Electromyography (EMG)

  • Methods are developing for support and training of the impaired neuromuscular functions by interaction with the neuromuscular system; for example, for people with spinal cord injury and stroke.
  • These methods include Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to activate muscles or influence the central nervous system, electrotactile interfacing, Electromyography (EMG) and the measurement of body movements with inertial sensors.
  • Neural and Cellular Engineering is targeted at large-scale interfacing electronics to the nervous system, using the potential of microtechnology and microelectronics on the one hand, and the electroneurophysiological and neuro-anatomic possibilities and constraints, on the other hand.
  • A key issue is how to contact nerve fibers as selectively and efficiently as possible.
  • Controlled growth of cultured neural networks is used to improve the neuro-electronic interface quality.
  • The potential use of trained live neural networks as intelligent sensor and control systems is the second line of research.
  • Telemetrics and Telecommunications

  • With innovative applications of Telemetrics and Telecommunications, unprecedented possibilities arise to improve procedures and working practices for training programs in rehabilitation medicine.
  • One example is the ExoZorg project which is aiming at the development of know-how and tools for rehabilitation and training at home or at work, with remote assistance by additional para-medical professionals.

Such extended health care technology bears all the promises of improved independence and freedom for patients and more efficient use of scarce resources at medical centers and with health care professionals.

—Based on information as indicated at the following sites:
Bright Hub;
Bioengineering Encyclopædia Britannica.

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Related topics about "technology": Biometrics: Index; Biomimetics: Index; Biopiracy; Emerging Technologies; Geographic Information System (GIS): Index; Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS); Global Positioning System (GPS); Information Tech; Mechatronics; Nanotechnology; RFID; Robotics; Technological Breakthroughs; Technological Innovations; WAAS; Wireless Communications.

A cross reference of word units that are related, directly and/or indirectly, with "electricity": electro-; galvano-; hodo-; ion-; piezo-; -tron; volt; mechatronics, info.