Education and research innovations in mechanical engineering are increasingly occurring at the interfaces of our disciplines. This is true not only within our department but also between MechE and other broad disciplines, such as materials science, chemistry, and electrical engineering. This issue of MechE Connects focuses on the exciting advances being made in bioengineering – the interface between mechanical engineering and biology.
The MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering was at the vanguard of bioengineering research before it was even recognized as an academic field. In the 1960s Robert Mann developed the first EMG-controlled prosthetic arm, and Ascher Shapiro and C. Forbes Dewey produced remarkable breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In the 1970s Ioannis V. Yannas developed the first artificial skin.
Today we continue to bridge the boundaries between biology and mechanical engineering. Research continues not only in the medical sphere, where you will read about advances in bioinstrumentation and biomedical devices, but also in bio-inspired design, where we look to snails and cheetahs for mechanical solutions, and in the emerging field of biomolecular and cellular control systems.
In this issue, we showcase the immense impact our faculty research has had on human health and comfort, consumer empowerment, and fundamental biological understanding. We recognize the lifetime achievement of two incredible bioengineers in our department, Professor Ioannis V. Yannas and C. Forbes Dewey Jr, and highlight current faculty members who are defining new frontiers in biology and inventing life-changing technologies.
For more information on our faculty’s areas of research focus, I invite you to visit our interactive faculty grid at http://meche.mit.edu/people/cloud.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Mary C. Boyce, Ford Professor of Engineering and Department Head