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Applications of Robotics in Biomedical Engineering

With technological innovations around every corner, biomedical research continues to find more inspiring interventions. Biomedical engineers must have a specific combination of skills to optimize their performance and improve patients’ quality of life.

Norfolk State University’s online Master of Science (M.S.) in Electronics Engineering with a track in Biomedical Engineering program offers a foundation in these evolving areas. Through a thoughtfully designed curriculum, graduates develop the necessary expertise to delve confidently into robotics. In the Digital Signal Processing course, students use mathematical and software tools to tackle modern engineering problems. The Biomedical Engineering Micro Devices and Systems course introduces students to biomedical engineering concepts and devices through lectures on bio-potentials, cellular ions, and microsensors and modulators in medicine. Students also design and fabricate microscale biomedical sensors.

Promising Advancements in Biomedical Robotics

Robotics has become an indispensable aspect of biomedical engineering because of the state-of-the-art solutions it offers for diagnosis and treatment. Biomedical engineers can harness the power of robotics to develop precision instruments and devices that enhance patient care and surgical procedures.

Soft Robots  

Soft robots are a new kind of robot technology made of flexible materials, such as silicone. According to Biomedical Engineering Letters, soft robotics “do not contain rigid joints or require a fully mechanical system to complete actuation.” This way, they can bend like biological tissues and conform to any shape without causing damage. The technology benefits biomedical engineering applications that need a gentler, human-like touch to handle delicate items. 

4D Printing     

4D printing is another innovative technique gaining popularity in biomedical engineering and robotics. Engineers print materials in 3D that can change shape or properties over time in response to specific stimuli, like temperature, moisture or light. Adding this fourth dimension of time allows the printed objects to transform or self-assemble autonomously after fabrication, opening new possibilities for creating dynamic, responsive structures.

For biomedical purposes, 4D printing has shown promise in revolutionizing drug delivery systems, tissue engineering, and customizable prosthetics and implants. For example, an Additive Manufacturing article notes that a “4D printed brain and heart can be extremely useful [and] precisely fit the surface curvature of the brain and heart under specific stimulation.”       


Biomedical engineers work with nanotechnology to find new ways to improve healthcare. Nanomaterials are tiny particles with unique qualities, like electrical conductivity and magnetism, that make them useful in medicine. Biomedical engineers use these particles to create advanced tools to diagnose diseases and find better ways to deliver drugs to specific body parts. Nanomaterials can also help the body heal itself through tissue regeneration. By developing more uses for nanotechnology, biomedical engineers can make novel treatments and devices that advance patient care.

Another Exciting Biomedical Engineering Breakthrough

A robotic gripping arm that can “taste” using special bacteria sounds like science fiction, but biomedical engineers and scientists did just that thanks to funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). The researchers added living cells to soft robots to create a proof of concept for a biological-mechanical hybrid machine. By tweaking bacteria to light up when they sense certain chemicals, the robotic arm can tell things apart by their taste. Cheemeng Tan, a biomedical engineer who worked on the project, told NSF, “Our long-term vision is about building a synthetic microbiota for soft robots that can help with repair, energy generation or biosensing of the environment.”

To keep pace with technological advancements, biomedical engineers must possess particular skills, including experience in various robotic applications. This blend of expertise allows them to stay at the forefront of their field, driving innovation and delivering impactful interventions that improve healthcare. In the online M.S. Electronics Engineering – Biomedical Engineering program from Norfolk State, students develop the biotechnology knowledge needed to support such advancements.

Learn more about Norfolk State University’s online Master of Science in Electronics Engineering with a track in Biomedical Engineering program.

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