Biomedical engineers combine science and engineering skills to produce new devices and procedures for treating diseases and disabilities in patients. They are responsible for life-saving devices, such as the artificial heart, and tools that give patients the ability to walk or hear when, otherwise, they couldn't. Biomedical engineers work in labs, hospitals and research centers to study, invent and maintain the products of their efforts.
Computers are among the tools biomedical engineers spend the most time using. Part of what computers provide are some very basic functions, like Internet access and word processing software. Besides writing research reports and reading scholarly scientific journals online, biomedical engineers use computers to synthesize data and control the other equipment they use to perform experiments.
Biomedical engineers use many types of microscopes to observe the results of experiments. High-resolution light microscopes can analyze recently grown cells or DNA. Scanning electron microscopes produce digital images that biomedical engineers collect to make time-lapse videos or photo comparisons.
Incubators are containers that give biomedical engineers a controlled space in which to grow cells for experiments. Along with fermenters, incubators give biomedical engineers greater control of their work and the ability to produce faster results.
Biomedical engineers use cryogenic equipment, including freezing tanks, to study cells as they freeze and thaw. This gives them insight into tissue properties under very specific conditions impossible to reproduce otherwise.
To document experiments and analyze the principles of human physiology, biomedical engineers use cameras extensively. Specialized cameras use thermal imaging and X-rays to analyze motion and record findings for upload to a computer.
Biomedical engineers use lasers for two distinctly different purposes. Some lasers with finely tuned wavelengths are applied to cells to study the effect of light on cellular growth and tissue formation. Another class of lasers are at the center of the development of laser surgery, as biomedical engineers develop new tools for advanced and non-invasive surgical procedures.