Recent progress in microelectromechanical systems - the microelectronics, microfabrication and micromachining technologies known collectively as MEMS - is being applied to biomedical applications and has become a new field of research unto itself, known as BioMEMS. The technology is originally based upon the same technology that has been used to make computer chips ever more powerful and less expensive. MEMS technology has enabled low-cost, high-functionality devices in some commonly used areas, such as inexpensive printer cartridges for ink jet printing and chip-based accelerometers responsible for deployment of automotive airbags. BioMEMS applies these technologies and concepts to diverse areas in biomedical research and clinical medicine. BioMEMS is an enabling technology for ever-greater functionality and cost reduction in smaller devices for improved medical diagnostics and therapies.
With strong traditions of innovation and research, the University of California in San Francisco is strategically positioned to investigate and develop BioMEMS. Furthermore, the research environment at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) is unique as it provides the necessary multidisciplinary collaboration that will be required for the implementation of new and novel ideas into successful BioMEMS.
The inherent characteristics of BioMEMS promise the production of miniature, smart, and low-cost biomedical devices that could revolutionize biomedical investigation and clinical practice. Consequently, a primary thrust is the research into development of BioMEMS and associated nanotechnology for clinical applications such as surgical instruments, tissue repair, artificial organs, diagnostic tools, and drug delivery systems.
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