Bioengineering and the Real World

  • Alvin H. Sacks


In comparison to the “good old days” in which engineering problems were well defined and the solutions depended upon well established techniques, the engineer in bioengineering does indeed face the real world today. There seem to be two aspects in which bioengineering differs substantially from the classical engineering of the past. First, the technical problems are often vaguely defined, the measurements are hard to come by and difficult to repeat, and the techniques are imprecise. As a result, the conclusions appear to be considerably more open to debate. But the second, and perhaps the more difficult, aspect in which bioengineering differs from classical engineering is the fact that multidisciplinary teams are almost essential to substantial progress. Here the engineer is forced to enter the real world of personal relationships with people who come from a substantially different background and training. I suspect that those of us who went into engineering or into physics, mathematics, or chemistry tend to be those who relate to inanimate objects and to equations more easily than we do to people, whereas the physician is almost the opposite. He usually relates very well to people, especially those who come for his advice, and frequently he does not relate well to mathematics or physics. Unfortunately, one characteristic the engineer seems to share with the physician is competetiveness.


Classical Engineering Korotkoff Sound Patent Examiner Electronic Stethoscope Biofluid Mechanics 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alvin H. Sacks
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Medical ResearchSan JoseUSA

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