Biomedical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Fancy Robot

Medical Devices & Robotics

Research in this area takes advantage of the superb environment for computation and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Adjunct faculty at local medical centers have also been instrumental in mediating access to clinical facilities and patient data. Strong emphasis is placed on the understanding of fundamental principles and the development of enabling technologies.

Neural Computation and Neural Engineering

Brain Computer Interface The Department of Biomedical Engineering has a strong focus in designing devices that interface directly with the nervous system. The groups of Chris Bettinger, Gary Fedder, and Burak Ozdoganlar design new types of compliant probes for high fidelity, minimally invasive neural interfaces. Shawn Kelly is designing a retinal prosthesis that can translate image data directly into electrical impulses, which are then applied to the retinal ganglion cells for restoring sight to patients with macular degeneration. These devices promise to alleviate sensory and/or motor deficits caused by injury, stroke, or disease.
Neural Topography Strong focus is placed in particular on neural signal processing. The group of Byron Yu uses machine learning techniques to elucidate how large populations of neurons process information, from encoding sensory stimuli to guiding motor actions (figure to the right). The group of Steven Chase combines analytical and experimental approaches to determine the computational and cognitive principles of motor control.
Robotic Ankle Knowledge gained from neural signal processing and computation may be used for the design of a new generation of devices that interface directly with populations of neurons, to translate neural activities into the movement of robotic limbs or computer cursors. Along this direction, the group of Hartmut Geyer investigates principles of legged dynamics and control, and applies the concept to the design of prosthetic devices (figure to the left).
Spinal Stimulator Among other implantable devices, the groups of Phil Campbell and Lee Weiss collaboratively develop biodegradable spinal fusion stimulators with implantable, biodegradable electrodes and radio-frequency powered generators (figure to the right). These electrical stimulators pass a constant current in the micro ampere range to the tissue, to aid the repair and regeneration of a wide range of tissue types, including musculoskeletal, cardiac, and neural.

Cardiovascular Fluid & Solid Mechanics

Great Arch Sound design of cardiovascular devices must be based on the understanding of underlying fluid and solid mechanics. The research in Biomedical Engineering covers several areas along this direction. For example, Kerem Pekkan investigates the role of fluid flow in early great vessel development using optical coherence tomography (figure to the left). In addition, fluid mechanical analysis of James Antaki, Kerem Pekkan, and Jessica Zhang continues to expand the capability of hemodynamic pre-surgical planning technologies.
Cardiac Mesh Mechanical modeling is performed extensively in cardiovascular research. For example, James Antaki applies hemodynamic optimization driven by multi-scale platelet activation models, with the goal of minimizing blood damage in ventricular assist devices. Kerem Pekkan conducts computational modeling of congenital heart surgeries to drive the discovery of new non-invasive procedures. In addition, Jessica Zhang develops efficient finite element mesh generation technologies for analyzing cardiac contractions (figure to the right).

Cardiovascular and Surgical Devices

Pediatric VAD The group of James Antaki develops cardiovascular medical devices, among them a new generation of pediatric ventricle assist devices (figure to the left), immersive neurosurgery devices, and magnetic malaria cell microchips. The group of Kerem Pekkan investigates arterial stent dislocation and the hemodynamics of pediatric cardiopulmonary bypass cannulas, with the aim of improving the outcome of pediatric open-heart surgery.
Artificial Lung The group of Keith Cook develops artificial lungs for long-term respiratory support during acute and chronic respiratory failure (figure to the right). The research covers every phase in the development of these devices, including computational design, blood-biomaterial interactions, and long-term pre-clinical testing.
Heart Lander A number of groups focus the research on computer-assisted surgery and smart medical tools. For example, the group of Cameron Riviere developed the "Heartlander"cardiac surgical robot that allows non-invasive access over the surface of a beating heart (figure to the left), while the group of Howie Choset is known for their small- diameter snake robots for minimally invasive surgery.
Osteotomy Optimizer Among other surgical technologies, the group of Branislav Jaramaz develops 3D statistical shape atlases for computer-assisted orthopaedic surgery systems; while the group of Yoed Rabin develops technologies to optimize cryosurgery. In addition, the group of Kenji Shimada uses computational approaches to model tissues and develop robotic technologies, for optimizing surgery such as for osteotomy (figure to the right) and for image-guided surgery.