Engineering breaking ground today for new building

Exciting news about the start of construction for our new building, as well as support for automotive research and education, design, and entrepreneurship.

The University of Waterloo breaks ground today on Engineering 7, an $88-million building that will feature some of the best engineering research and teaching facilities in the world.The ground-breaking event will take place on Thursday November 12, at 1:30 pm at Engineering 5 on the University’s east campus.The new Engineering 7 (E7) facility will feature an additive manufacturing—or 3D printing—laboratory and an indoor flight arena for testing autonomous and robotic vehicles.It will also accommodate growth from Waterloo’s new biomedical engineering program and the expansion of the Faculty of Engineering’s highly popular mechatronics engineering program. It will house the Faculty’s new teaching innovation, the multidisciplinary Engineering Ideas Clinic™, where undergraduate students will integrate classroom theory with hands-on learning as they design, build, test and refine ideas.Part of the funding for E7 will come from the Educating the Engineer of the Future campaign, a $70-million fundraising effort that will help the Faculty of Engineering achieve its goal to become a world-class engineering school.Earlier this week, GM Canada announced $1 million in funding to support the Educating the Engineer of the Future campaign. This support will fund a Research Chair in advanced materials while also sponsoring Waterloo Engineering’s Capstone Design projects involving software development, which is key to GM Canada’s work on “the connected car.”E7 will also become the new home for the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre. It will have dedicated study and social spaces for students, lecture halls and entrepreneurial support areas, along with areas for student teams to prototype their Capstone Design projects.

Source: Thursday, November 12, 2015 | Daily Bulletin

University approves $88-million Engineering 7 building

  Here is some interesting and exciting news.  I wasn’t aware it was up for approval, so it caught me by surprise!  It will have quite a few interesting features for education in engineering and entrepreneurship for all programs.  But it also will help with our space constraints in Biomedical and Mechatronics Engineering.  See the link for more details.  In the picture (architect’s rendering) you can just see the side of our current Engineering 5 building in the background to the right.

University approves $88-million Engineering 7 building | Engineering.

Comparing Biomedical Engineering Programs

Choosing a Biomedical Engineering (BME) program is a bit more complicated than many other programs, like chemical or mechanical, because there is actually quite a variety among them.  The following is my impression of the various types of BME programs.

First, what should a Biomedical Engineering (BME) program look like academically?  Here is a reasonable definition given by ABET, the U.S. “Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology“:

The program must prepare graduates to have: an understanding of biology and physiology, and the capability to apply advanced mathematics (including differential equations and statistics), science, and engineering to solve the problems at the interface of engineering and biology; the curriculum must prepare graduates with the ability to make measurements on and interpret data from living systems, addressing the problems associated with the interaction between living and non-living materials and systems.

(The Canadian equivalent of ABET, CEAB, doesn’t publish any definitions but our expectations would be similar anyways.)

Within that framework, there are actually several different “flavours” of BME, and for potential applicants it is very important that you recognize and understand this.  Otherwise, you might end up in a program that is completely different from what you might have had in mind.  Here, I will attempt to summarize my understanding of the different “flavours”, with some example programs in Canadian universities. Continue reading

Biomedical Engineering Starts Here

Exciting news for those who have been asking about Biomedical Engineering at Waterloo!  All the necessary internal and external approvals have been received and we are launching an undergraduate (B.A.Sc.) program in September 2014.  So the OUAC application centre should now be able to take applications to this program.

A prosthetic eye, an example of a biomedical e...
A prosthetic eye, an example of a biomedical engineering application of mechanical engineering and biocompatible materials to ophthalmology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll provide some brief details about the program below, and then some more detailed thoughts and comparisons in future posts.

  • Like all of our engineering programs, this one will have program-specific courses right from the first day, and will be a mandatory co-op program (alternating 4 month periods of academic and industry work experience).
  • This will be a modified Stream 8 program (i.e. the first co-op job starts at the end of 1st year, after 8 months of academic study).  One unique feature is an 8 month workterm between 3rd and 4th year, followed by eight months of academic work.  This gives more time to focus on one work term job, and more time to focus on a major design project in 4th year.
  • The Biomedical Engineering program is a joint undertaking with input and teaching by several departments including Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biology, and the School of Anatomy.  It pulls together a lot of biomedical engineering expertise that already exists across those departments.
  • The curriculum was designed with significant input from industry and graduate schools, so it should be very relevant for either path.
  • Admission requirements:  same course requirements as all of our other engineering programs. (in Ontario, ENG4U, SPH4U, SCH4U, MHF4U, MCV4U, + one other U/M course).  High school biology is not required.
  • Grade requirements?  Hard to say, because that depends on the level of competition (i.e. number of applicants and their grades).  There are only 45 spaces available in 2014, so we are guessing that mid to high 80’s might be necessary but it could go higher or lower.  If you are interested, just apply and see what happens.
  • Another unique feature:  the program provides the opportunity to focus in a couple of interesting areas, namely Neuroscience and Sports Engineering.
  • It is expected that there will be significant interactions with Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology, as well as the Schools of Computer Science, Pharmacy, Optometry & Vision Science, and the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience.  A lot of biomedical research already takes place at Waterloo, as brought together in our Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, so there should be opportunities for students to work on research projects (as there are with all of our programs).

There are other details I will cover later, but let me know in the comments if there are specific topics or questions I should try to address.