978-0-262-18048-1 / 9780262180481

Engineering and Living Systems


Publisher:The MIT Press



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About the book:

This book outlines for the first time a sound plan for interrelating the physical and engineering sciences and mathematics with biology and medicine. The walls of narrowing specialization that have kept these disciplines apart are broken down. The proposed program points up the need for an administrative structure to aid the flow of concepts, ideas, knowledge, and technology among those concerned, both within and without the university.

The kinds of experts needed to bridge the existing gap between the two groups of disciplines are defined. Educational programs are outlined for full-time specialists, research participants, and practitioners in both engineering and medicine. A careful description is given of the stepwise process, including interaction with industry to apply development in the engineering sense to biology and medicine. A detailed example of the application of systems analysis and operations research to the development of a specific medical care program is also included.

This book is a distillate of the general principles learned during the exploration of a joint program between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which was summarized by the authors in a Report to the National Academy of Engineering. The authors recognize the impossibility of providing on their own the authoritative grasp necessary to provide specific recommendations for the future in the many field comprised by engineering and living systems. Cooperation was obtained of outstanding experts on the two faculties, who prepared sixteen task group reports under the following headings: artificial internal organs; bioengineering curricula; biological control systems; continuing education; diagnostic instrumentation; diagnostic processes; image processing and visualization techniques; medical care microsystems; neurophysiology; organ and cell culture and storage; physiological monitoring; physiological systems analysis; regionalization of health services (macrosystems); sensory aids; skeletal prostheses; and subcellular engineering. The task group reports, included in this book, provide the documentation for the general conclusions of the authors.

This book supplements existing medical programs with a new research approach to increase fundamental knowledge, and points the way to better medical care through more efficient application of engineering, technology, and systems development.

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