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APPLICATIONS OF BIOENGINEERING IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING

A MIDTERM PAPER
SUBMITTED IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS IN THE
INTRODUCTION TO BIOENGINEERING
(GED0045)

AGUINALDO, ALYZZA P.
BAUTISTA, FRANCE MCKOLNY C.
LATO, MICHAEL JETHRO A.
SUNGA, DANNETTE S.

SECTION E22
TRIMESTRAL 2 S.Y. 2019
JANUARY 31, 2020

Introduction and Objective 15%


Content Knowledge: Quality of Research 30%
Content Application: Support and Analysis 30%
Conclusion 10%
Organization and Presentation of Ideas 10%
Writing Quality and Adherence to Guidelines 5%
TOTAL

1
I. INTRODUCTION

According to Abramovits (2015), biological engineering or commonly known as bioengineering

is the application of both biological principles and medical knowledge to the field of engineering.

Bioengineering explores the modification, creation, or mimicry of biological systems and the

functionality of everything that can alter or improve human’s way of living through the aid of the

different branches of engineering.

Electrical Engineering is a field of engineering that is concerned with study, design and

application of devices, components, and systems that are related to energy, electricity, electronics, and

electromagnetism as defined by Lucas (2014).

Before the introduction of bioengineering, engineers had the hard time understanding the

science behind the actual biology of their works. This initiated to the creation of the field of

bioengineering. According to Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering (2014), electrical engineers

pioneered the field of bioengineering due to their importance to machinery that the medical field find

helpful.

The Biomedical and Electrical Engineering program looks at the application of electrical

engineering and scientific principles such as electromagnetic waves, electronics, engineering

materials, signal processing, computing and display devices, quantitative analysis, communication

systems and image analysis to solve problems in biotechnology and medicine. Technology is used to

design and build new components and systems for biomedical applications. Biological signals, such

as those from the heart and brain, are routinely used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Computer tools are used to collect and analyze data, such as gene sequence databases, that contain
millions of entries. Mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics make medical devices

work and could even be used to deliver drugs inside the human body. Advances in medical imaging

techniques such as MRI and PET scans lead to the early diagnosis of many diseases and to an increase

in the effectiveness of treatment and prevention. Medical informatics, telemedicine, and Electronic

Health Records help improve the delivery of health care. The possibilities are almost endless in this

fast growing field.

II. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

1. To discuss bioengineering and electrical engineering field;

2. To discuss the relationship between bioengineering and the electrical engineering discipline;

3. To identify the applications of bioengineering in electrical engineering field; and

4. To discuss the challenges and ethical issues in bioengineering and the electrical engineering field.

III. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

1. Applications of Bioengineering in Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is becoming a field that is not only limited to electricity and

electrical components. In today’s news, electrical engineers are changing medicine and improving

healthcare.
1.1Electromagnetic Acoustic Imaging

figure 1.1

figure 1.2

The medical world is currently using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and

computed tomography (CT) apparatuses in diagnosing medical conditions. The field of electrical

engineering is trying to improve this diagnostic system through the introduction of electromagnetic

acoustic imaging (EMAI).

According to the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE), EMAI produces more accurate

images of tumors even as tiny as two millimeters and overcomes the limitations of CTs and MRIs.

Although CTs provide deep penetration and a great imaging resolution for diagnostic purposes,
the damage from its radiation is alarming. Also, MRIs are highly sensitive, low resolution in

imaging, and overly expensive.

On the other hand, EMAI have emerged and successfully overcome the stated limitations.

EMAI uses electromagnetic waves to provide a high contrast of the image and acoustic wave in

providing a high resolution and deep penetration for the image as seen in figure 1.1.1. The Institute

of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) also stated that EMAI can also cut the medical expenditures as they

are more portable and less expensive than MRI and CT scan machines.

As electrical engineers, it is essential to be knowledgeable about the different properties of

electromagnetic waves and acoustic waves. Electromagnetic waves are used to heat and irradiate

the biological tissue to cause the tissue to be more visible thus providing a high contrast of the

image being observed as seen in figure 1.1.2. While acoustic waves act as targeting agent that finds

the area of concern through its diffusive and scattering property.

This development showed that through intensive research, it is never impossible to

remove limitations from the current technologies. This also showed that advancement of

technology can become more affordable and accessible to every health institution.

1.2 Electroporation
figure 1.3

Electroporation is a process that introduce electrical field to alter the cell’s permeability as stated

by Potter (2003). These processes will allow the penetration and introduction of chemicals and drugs into

the cell’s membrane, thus, providing a better chance of eliminating and treating tumors or damaged cells

and tissues.

Electroporation is done by allowing thousands of voltage (250 - 750 V/cm) across the cell of

interest as seen in figure 1.2. This will result the cell to be divided into its subatomic pieces. After these

process, the drugs or the action of interest will be introduced to the cell.

Results showed that electroporation will be highly effective in cell reprogramming according to

Gallego-Perez et al. (2017). Electroporation showed a great potential in enabling more-effective cell-

based and patient-specific therapies.

The inability of certain drugs and cell alterations to be introduced in a patient’s body is the current

dilemma in medical technology. But according to Chang (2006), the introduction of electroporation will

eliminate these limitations in the medical field. This application of electrical engineering in the medical

field will not only create cure but can also be used to improve cells functionality.

1.3 Deep Brain Stimulation


figure 1.4

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) acts as the pacemaker of the brain according to Kringelbach et al.

(2007). Initially, pacemaker uses electrodes that sends signals that were created to treat arrhythmias or

the abnormal beating of the heart. On the other hand, the DBS applies the same principles to treat

Parkinson’s disease.

According to The Parkinson Foundation, DBS works by using pulsed and low-frequency

alternating current (AC) fields are applied with either implanted or surface electrodes to be used to either

stimulate or suppress neural activity. It also have sensors that detects the unusual brain waves. This

application serves as a limiter to a Parkinson’s disease patient when they’re having seizures or abnormal

brain activity.

Having the same principles with the pacemaker, DBS encounters the same dilemmas such as the

electrodes that are punctured unto the skin as seen in figure 1.4. Since the DBS is a foreign substance, the

patient’s immune system will try to reject it. With this in mind, DBS must be replaced through time.
DBS is generally applied as a supplement to regular medications and only after the medications

no longer provide relief of symptoms. There is also a possibility that DBS can cure disorders such as major

depression which is now at an alarming increasing rate said by Richards and O’Hara (2016).

B. Challenges of Bioengineering in Electrical Engineering

The Bioengineering primarily focus on principles and design concepts to medicine and

biology for healthcare purposes. The goal is to close the gap between the “Engineering Field” and

“Medical Field” for advance healthcare treatment while the Electrical Engineering heavily focuses on

electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism which makes it far and behind from the medicinal field.

In the Bioengineering field, Electrical Engineering is very beneficial due to the fact that the

application of engineering principles and design concepts can be heavily applied to medicine and

biology for healthcare purposes. The modeling in Electrical Engineering can be done through

simulated circuits to prove or disprove a medical condition exists. (For example, MRI Scanner)

The problem of applying the knowledge of Electrical Engineering to Bioengineering is the

constant use of electricity and power to run a device because the main focus of Electrical Engineering

relies on electronics and electromagnetism. According to a study from the World Health Organization

article, the exposure of body to electromagnetic fields can be harmful to health.

An electromagnetic and battery free device could be a good idea in the future. We may use

some of the renewable energy ideas and focus it on improving power required devices for

bioengineering.

The Electrical Engineering field is limited to energy backup source. Every project that is

related to Electrical Engineering requires constant supply of voltage and power to run the device.
A powerless energy source could be implemented for the current devices. A portable

rechargeable device or battery that can store a large amount of power that can operate for months

could also be a good upgrade and implemented for the current devices.

2. Future of Bioengineering in Electrical Engineering

Life would be a lot different few years from now due to the advancement in science and

technology. Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering will work hand-in-hand in solving the

world’s most perplexing problems in different aspects of life. An example to this one is the idea of

providing technology and/or machines that would provide support and solutions to the people born

with special physical needs. Since nowadays, there are challenges that are being experienced by

people with special needs- e.g. dwarfism, on how they would actively participate socially with what

we so-called ‘normal people’. Through the collaboration between bioengineering and electrical

engineering, engineers could be able to come up with a medical device or machine that would help

these people to have a normal life where they could do what the normal people can.

Nowadays, prosthetics and bionic limbs and arms are advancing together with technology.

In the future, people suffering from dwarfism can be provided normal and fully-functioning limbs

and arms.

3. Ethical Issues in Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the development of computer systems and robotics that are

able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence according to Russel and Norvig

(2003). The AI is fast approaching to human-like functions and capabilities. It is very

commendable to have technology that will aid the humanity through different forms. As the future

is very evident that these AI can soon replace human on regular jobs that doesn’t require deep
analysis for work to be done, it is seen that the most alarming things AI can do is harm the

humanity.

The more dominant an innovation turns into, the more would it be able to be utilized for

loathsome reasons. This applies not exclusively to robots delivered to supplant human warriors, or

self-ruling weapons, yet to AI frameworks that can cause harm whenever utilized maliciously.

Since these battles won't be battled on the battleground just, cyber security will turn out to be

significantly increasingly significant. All things considered, they’re managing a framework that is

quicker and more proficient than us by requests of greatness.

Since AI is too futuristic, laws must be soon hurls potential issues with regards to the

insurance of our human rights. Security and information assurance rules apply to data identified

with our wellbeing. Thus, efficient use of our cell phones' to capture area may rupture security and

information insurance rules and it could prompt worries over the public authorities.

As long as it will not be detrimental to people then AI should be developed. We can live

with artificial intelligence as long as it will not bypass human rights. The fear can be set aside from

artificial intelligence because people need social interaction to live long, healthy lives and artificial

intelligence can do the work but maybe it is a threat to white collar jobs. AI is good at task that

involves judgment and optimization, which tend to be done by higher skilled workers.

Overall, artificial intelligence will benefit humankind greatly without posing a

threat to the society. AI will replace some tedious forms of labor will be replaced in the workplace,

developing society to be higher functioning and more successful. While there are many pros and

cons to the integration of AI in the workplace, it will benefit humanity more than it will harm it.
I. CONCLUSION

As the technology develops, a lot of inventions are used especially in the medical field. The

future of the two disciplines, Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering would come up with better

improvement of what we have today. The development of the pacemaker and electrochemical transistor

is a piece of evidence that it can still be improve in the future that a lot of people can use it and be able

to make the most out of it.

REFERENCES

World Heath Organization (n.d.), “Electromagnetic Fields” Retrieved from (https://www.who.int/peh-


emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html) Retrieved January 26, 2020

Chang, Donald C. (2006-09-15), "Electroporation and Electrofusion", in Meyers, Robert A. (ed.),


Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co.

Potter H (May 2003). "Transfection by electroporation". Current Protocols in Molecular Biology.


Chapter 9: Unit 9.3.

Gallego-Perez, Daniel; Ghatak, Subhadip; Pal, Durba (October 2017). "Topical tissue nano-transfection
mediates non-viral stroma reprogramming and rescue". Nature Nanotechnology.

"Depression". NIMH. May 2016. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved from
(https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml) Retrieved on 29 January 2020

Yarmush, M.L., Golberg, A., Ser_a, G., Kotnik, T. and Miklav_i_, D. (2014), Electroporation-based
technologies for medicine: principles, applications, and challenges. Annu. Rev. Biomed. Eng. 16: 295-
320.

The Parkinson Foundation. Deep Brain Stimulation Retrieved from (http://www.parkinson.org/under-


standing-parkinsons/treatment/surgery-treatment-options/Deep-Brain-Stimulation) Retrieved on 29
January 2020