Conflicted and confused which engineering profession best fit my dreams?

  • #1
Femme_physics
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I'm so confused lately :(

I want to get into a field where we integrate chips with the brain, or try to make neurons interact with engineering devices. Problem is I don't know what field fits best.

Which would you recommend me, based on experience?

Medical engineering seems like the ideal choice. But is it?

What about electrical engineering? Seems to be more relevant to have electrical-engineering knowledge since ultimately an artificial brain would be made of such components.

What about taking mechatronics? Rather comprehensive field, but maybe enables to see the bigger picture.

Right now, I am in practical engineering degree in mechatronics...i'll finish it in a year from now... but basically, I still have to do 4 years of study FROM THE BEGINNING to get to a 1st degree in either of these engineering trades (depends what I choose), even in mechatronics. I'd just get more credit points if I take mechatronics for my first degree...(but not a lot of credit points).

Regardless, I wanna pick what's more relevant to my dreams, not what's more easy to get. What do you think?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
berkeman
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Sounds like an EE degree would be a good foundation, and add in biomedical engineering classes and enough biology and chemistry classes to deal with the field of biomedical engineering. What-all is involved in mechatronics (sorry that I'm not familiar with the term)?
 
  • #3
Femme_physics
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Thanks for the feedback, Berkman. I was just looking up options, and I saw it's possible to do dual-degrees. So I was thinking to do a dual-degree, electronic-engineering with medical engineering. Problem is that one degree for a working student is madness in of itself. In terms of workpower I can do it, in terms of juggling work and school...well I just might hit a cap.

We shall see at what shape I am in a few years.. :) Thanks, Berk.
 
  • #4
AlephZero
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I wouldn't get too hung up about which is the "best" specialization. Unless you plan to be a "one-person genius inventor" (not a good plan, if you want to achieve anything!) you will most likely be working in a team of people who are specialists in different fields. If you have a good degree in one of those specialities, you will be be able to learn "enough" about the others topics as you go along.

In the environment I work in, it's quite usual to have mechanical engineers and fluid dynamics experts working on the same project, possibly with a mathematician and/or a chemist as well. Nobody expects a new graduate with a degree in one of those disciplines to know much about the others on "day one", but after a few years work experience people have learned enough about everything to function as a team.

What you learn at university isn't the end of the education process - it's just the start.
 
  • #5
Femme_physics
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Thanks, AlephZero, I've taken it all to heart...
 
  • #6
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I seriously think that business or law would be better than any engineering for what you want to do.

Think of the regulatory and marketing hurdles for sticking a piece of solid silicon into someone's brain, and having them pay for it! Makes the actual engineering look like a breeze!
 
  • #7
Femme_physics
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LOL...good one, chill_factor! :D
 
  • #8
AlephZero
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Think of the regulatory and marketing hurdles for sticking a piece of solid silicon into someone's brain, and having them pay for it! Makes the actual engineering look like a breeze!

This isn't quite in the brain, but it's getting pretty close. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17936302
 
  • #9
I like Serena
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So are you ready to come work at the Oxford eye clinic in the UK?
(Or elsewhere, where they have such opportunities?)
 
  • #10
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Not sure if it's the exactly the same field but from your OP it sounds similar, my university (UTS, Australia) is working on a wheelchair that uses the brains electrical signals to control the wheelchair - a thought controlled wheelchair. Very much an electrical or mechatronics engineering type project, the work is being done in the centre for mechatronic and autonomous systems. No embedding chips in brains unfortunately :) Oh, and mechatronics is a great degree (doing it now, second year), given the choice again I would choose it in an instant (though I'm thinking about adding a maths major to it).
 
  • #11
Femme_physics
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I like both mechatronics and electronics...problem is I feel mechatronics doesn't combine enough electronics.

When the output of the brain comes out as mechanical movement - it's electronics + mechanical engineering

When the output as the brain comes out as graphical movement in a software - it's electronics + software engineering

So the idea generally appears to be electronics-based, with a lot of signal-reading involved.

I could do a dual-degree....but I dunno if it's a good idea to cram so much stuff into my head, particularly if industry is most useful at specialization.
 
  • #12
Pyrrhus
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Is this interest you?


Try Biomedical Engineering.
 
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  • #13
Femme_physics
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Yes-- that's what I'm talking about Pyrr (try emotiv systems, I think they have a great system too if not the best). But biomedical engineering is too comprehensive IMO. If we break it down it's neuroscience + electronics.

I prefer to specialize in electronics and actually build the system, and work with a neuroscientist; as opposed to try to become both.

Although, I'm sure I'll pick up tons of neuroscience along the way just by working in it.
 
  • #14
turbo
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Femme, you are shooting at what might best be described as a "moving target" since some fields are going to experience unexpected (to us) advances and surges and preclude what one might consider an orderly improvement in all the fields that we are interested in. Long-term planning for a career can lead you down some unexpected roads, so just keep an open mind and get ready to roll with the punches. Good luck.
 
  • #15
Femme_physics
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I seriously doubt the field of neuroelectronics is gonna die out somehow anytime soon... think it's only gonna heavily flourish.
 
  • #16
turbo
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I seriously doubt the field of neuroelectronics is gonna die out somehow anytime soon... think it's only gonna heavily flourish.
I don't think that it's going to pass out of existence as a potential field, but there can be stalling, reverses or advances in related academic fields that can give you fits as you plan your academic career.

I'm not trying to discourage you - just some friendly advice.
 
  • #17
Femme_physics
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Oh, it's always good to have a reality check, I guess I'm just an ardent believer in its future :)
but of course the general theme of your message is absolutely correct.
 
  • #18
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Have you considered staying into academic research in this field? That way you don't have to worry about possible pitfalls of this profession. Yet, you might enjoy doing stuffs.
 

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