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Unit Overview


The human body can be viewed as an engineering system and many core functions of the body can be explained using engineering principles. Furthermore, the body comprises many complex systems and processes running in parallel. In this unit, the function of the human body will be considered from a systems engineering perspective. Once this overarching framework is in place, specific systems within the body will be analysed using main concepts of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and materials engineering. For example, in the nervous system, the transmission of signals from the brain to various organs of the body will be framed as an electrical circuit problem. In addition, how various medical devices interact with the body to improve and restore function will be described in detail and incorporated within the systems engineering framework. In summary, this unit introduces students to systems engineering as a means to deepen understanding of the human body and reconciles underpinning principles of both human biology and engineering.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Biomedical Engineering major sequence

Students are able to (1) differentiate between different types of biomaterials for different applications and describe contemporary manufacturing methods for biomedical applications, such as regenerative medicine; (2) explain how biomechanics and biology interact; (3) explain the fundamentals of tissue optics and their application to medicine, including the challenges in developing optical imaging probes; (4) describe the regulatory requirements involved when bringing a medical device to market and be able to assess the market; (5) use medical engineering software to analyse medical images and plan the use of an implantable medical device for cardiovascular surgery; (6) analyse risk and safety associated with the development of medical devices, including the relevant standards associated with the clinical investigation of medical devices and ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects; and (7) write concise reports using the conventions of the discipline.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignments; (2) group project; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Lena Kranold
Unit rules
Enrolment in
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) or an associated Combined Degree
and IMED1001 Form and Function
and PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and PHYL2002 Physiology of Cells
ENSC3023 Biomedical Engineering (ID 6293)
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
activities: 2 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.