Medical Engineering

Germany is the third largest producer of medical technology in the world after the USA and Japan. In 2004, the world market for biomedical technology was worth around €184 billion, of which Germany accounted for approximately €14 billion. Medical engineering companies had some 150,000 employees in 2002. German companies have the second highest number of patent registrations (behind US companies). 50% of their turnover stems from products on the market for less than two years.

Medical engineering, also referred to as biomedical engineering (BME) is the application of engineering principles and rules to the medical field. BME involves the manufacture of instruments, products and technical processes, which are medical devices. Directive 2007/47/EC defines a 'medical device' as any instrument, apparatus, appliance, software, material or other article, whether used alone or in combination, including the software intended by its manufacturer to be used specifically for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes and necessary for its proper application, intended by the manufacturer to be used for human beings for the purpose of: diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease; diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, alleviation of or compensation for an injury or handicap; investigation, replacement or modification of the anatomy or of a physiological process, control of conception, which does not achieve its principal intended action in or on the human body by pharmacological, immunological or metabolic means, but which may be assisted in its function by such means. Active Implantable Medical Devices are regulated by Directive 90/385/EC and in vitro diagnostic medical devices by the IVD Directive. Hence they are not 'medical devices' as defined in Directive 2007/47/EC. In Germany and Austria, however, they are regulated by the law relating to medical devices.

Biomedical engineering is an area with an above-average level of research interest, especially in the following areas: medical informatics, signal processing of physiological signals, biomechanics, biomaterials, system analyses, creation of 3D models, imaging techniques, cell and tissue engineering, clinical engineering, production of all kinds of prostheses, dental implants, cochlear implants of therapeutic and diagnostic equipment, artificial pacemakers, infusion pumps, cardiopulmonary bypasses, dialysis machines, artificial organs and visual aids.