June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.866.1 - 15.866.9
Meeting the Educational Challenge in Micro/nanorobotics for Biomedical Applications
We present the progress of our NSF CCLI project to design teaching materials on micro/nanorobotics for biomedical engineering students. We have developed a case study and a laboratory module, both of which are centered on a vitamin pill sized microrobot navigating in the human’s GI tract. In particular, we built a simulation module in Webots 3D simulator, where the microrobot navigates along the GI tract and detects abnormality through an onboard camera. Using the case study and the laboratory module, we teach students building components of a microrobot, and basic behaviors for robot navigation and detection.
In the same way MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technologies provided new medical devices in the 80s, recent development in nanotechnology is enabling the manufacturing of nanobiosensors and actuators to improve cell biology interfaces and biomolecular applications. As a consequence, nanorobotics and nanomedicine have evolved from pure science fiction to a rapid growing research area which may lead to a real implementation in a few decades. According to a 1997 report by a panel of experts sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, nanomedicine could become a reality by the year of 2020, and “possible applications include programmable immune machines that travel through the bloodstream, supplementing the natural immune system; cell herding machines to stimulate rapid healing and tissue reconstruction; and cell repair machines to perform genetic surgery”1. Also, the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) Roadmap's new Nanomedicine Initiatives released in 2003 envisioned that “the cutting- edge area of research will begin yielding medical benefits as early as 10 years from now”.
In future decades, the principle focus in medicine will shift from medical science to medical engineering, and the design of microscopic and molecular machines will be the consequent result of techniques provided from the biomedical knowledge gained in the last century2. Market demand for professionals with advanced degree training relevant to micro/nanorobotics and nanomedicine will be fueled by the permeation of new discoveries in the field. In this CCLI proposal, we address how to educate our engineering undergraduate students in the subject of micro/nanorobotics aiming at biomedical applications so that they are well-prepared with the knowledge and training to fulfill the technology demand when entering the job market.
Over the last decade, there has been a significant growth in the number of undergraduate Bio- medical Engineering (BME) programs, and the number of students enrolled in these BME programs. Currently there are 117 BME academic programs in the U. S. that are profiled in the Whitaker Foundation curriculum database3. According to the statistics collected by the Whitaker Foundation, the number of undergraduate enrollment has increased from around 5,000 in 1993 to over 12,000 in 20034. Based on a forecast by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical engineering jobs will climb almost twice as fast as the overall average for a 26.1 percent gain by
Guo, Y., & Zhang, S., & Ritter, A., & Man, H. (2010, June), Meeting The Educational Challenge In Micro/Nanorobotics For Biomedical Applications Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15956
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