Using mechanical engineering to tackle healthcare challenges
Are you interested in combining several mechanical engineering and other technical disciplines with a medical perspective in order to address healthcare problems? Would you like to contribute to the development of innovative functional prosthetics, special wheelchairs or other rehabilitation and orthopaedic aids that will increase the independence and freedom of movement of individuals? Or contribute to the revolutionary development of better devices to support or even replace organs like hearts or lungs? If so, the Master’s specialisation Personalised Health Technology (PHT), one of seven specialisations you can choose from within our Mechanical Engineering (ME) Master’s programme, could be the perfect choice for you.
The Master’s specialisation Personal Health Technology integrates several mechanical engineering disciplines to analyse, simulate and support aspects of human functioning. This offers possibilities for experimental and theoretical approaches to real-life problems, or the design of solutions for use in the medical arena. We study the special mechanical properties of living biological tissue (muscle functioning and tissue engineering), flow problems related to heart and lungs, the dynamics and coordination of the human movement system, and we apply this in the development of instruments and methodologies that support the daily life functioning of individuals. Real-life mechanical behaviour is highly non-linear, time-dependent and non-isotropic, so a lot of creative engineering is needed to deal with this.
The Personalised Health Technology specialisation is embedded and finds applications in most of the departments and disciplines of Mechanical Engineering.
Why choose this specialisation at UT?
The Personalised Health Technology specialisation combines a solid educational programme in Mechanical Engineering with highly relevant societal challenges in healthcare. It is highly multidisciplinary, as most research projects involve input from several technical disciplines and from clinical and industrial partners. The specialisation directly involves the TechMed Centre of the University of Twente, thus enabling access to a wide variety of laboratories and facilities. Both the TechMed Centre and Biomechanical Engineering are world leaders on a large number of topics.
- Study at a university that places a high value on valorization and societal impact, working shoulder-to-shoulder with clinicians and industry. Our clinical partners include University Medical Centre Groningen, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Medisch Spectrum Twente and Roessingh Rehabilitation Centre.
- Expand your mechanical engineering expertise with knowledge and skills in other vital disciplines, as you work with interdisciplinary teams representing Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, Applied Physics and Technical Medicine.
- In 2017, UT was named the top university of technology in the Netherlands and the university with the highest societal impact. In the overall ranking, we entered the top three universities in the country. Not only will you benefit from the world-class facilities on campus, but also from our pioneering, cross-disciplinary research in many fields. At UT you will develop a strong engineering mindset that will equip you with the skills needed to tackle complex healthcare challenges.
Examples of specialisation courses
The specialisation offers a variety of courses that allows you to personalize your programme according to your own interests and preferences. These include core and elective courses and are always combined with a full-time internship in your second year at a clinical or industrial organization and your graduation project. Course options include:
- Biomechanics and dynamics: Biomechanics of human movement; Flexible Multi-body Dynamics; Imaging Techniques
- Structural mechanics: Fundamentals of Numerical Methods; Solids and Surfaces; Tissue Engineering
- Fluid dynamics: Fluid Mechanics II; Biophysical fluid dynamics; Computational fluid dynamics
- Control engineering: Human Movement Control; System Identification and Parameter Estimation; Biomechatronics
- Design engineering: Integrative design of biomedical products; Design production materials; Precision mechanisms 2
- General: Frontier to Personal Health Technology; Physiology
A number of these courses may contain elements that link mechanical engineering to human physiology.
Combine research with practical application in an industrial setting
As a university that places a strong emphasis on societal impact and valorization, we require our Master’s students to choose graduation projects in which they combine fundamental research with a practical application in a real-world setting. Many of these projects are carried out in cooperation with and for leading medical, societal and industrial organizations. The graduation project will be tailored according to the requirements, wishes and interests of the stakeholders, including those of our students.
Examples of graduation projects
- Modelling in order to predict how muscle forces operate when humans walk
- Analysis of failure mechanisms in hip implants
- Modelling of biking dynamics and stability analysis
- Modelling of needle-tissue interaction in the use of (robotic) surgical needles
- Design of an energy-storing knee-ankle prosthesis
- Measurement and analysis of the flow around an artificial heart valve
- Mechanical optimization of a heart-lung machine
- Develop additive manufacturing techniques for biomedical (soft) applications
- Model bobsleigh dynamics
Upon completion of the Master’s programme in Mechanical Engineering, you will receive a Master of Science degree. Employers in the industry will highly value your expertise as a qualified Mechanical Engineer, so you will be equipped to enter any area of mechanical engineering – not just the area of your Master’s specialisation.
Demand for mechanical engineers is enormous. As a UT Master’s graduate, you will be amply qualified to work at a wide range of companies in a variety of positions. Many graduates find jobs in research and development or design and construction. In design teams, they take on the role of engineering specialist or integrator, often functioning as a team leader. A relatively high number of them go on to manage other engineers in their first job.
Additionally, you have a demonstrated interest in solving problems related to healthcare and biomedical engineering, and you are aware of the human touch in technology. As healthcare and technology become increasingly interwoven, the need for engineers with expertise in biomechanics is also on the rise. Your degree is a plus when applying for positions in a more specialised industry, start-ups and research institutes.