Bioengineering: A Fascinating Timeline

When one mentions the term bioengineering, people usually think of advanced technology that could have only existed in the late 20th century. That, however, is rather inaccurate. The fact of the matter is bioengineering has been around for hundreds of years. But it was in the 19th century that bioengineering made a turn and became more prevalent. Here is a fascinating look at the important events that led to the development of bioengineering.

From 1791 to 1896

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In a span of 105 years, a number of inventors and innovators came out with influential and then-state-of-the-art medical equipment. For example, in 1791, Luigi Galvani built the very first frog galvanoscope used to detect electricity using frog’s legs. In 1881, Samuel von Basch built the first sphygmomanometer, which was the tool used to measure blood pressure. The first X-ray machine was built in Germany in 1895, by Conrad Roentgen. He received the Nobel Prize for his efforts in 1901.

From 1903 to 1940s

The first half of the 20th century saw numerous leaps in bioengineering technology. Willem Einthoven began with the invention of the electrocardiogram, otherwise known as the ECG machine. Twenty-six years later, Hans Berger built the first electroencephalogram or EEG. In the two decades that followed, antibiotics, sulfanilamide, and penicillin were all invented.

From the 1950s to 1980
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The technological revolution continued well into the second half of the 20th century starting with the invention of the electron microscope in 1950. Other notable inventions in this era were computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. The gamma camera and SPECT came into existence in the 1980s.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer whose professional and academic backgrounds span several disciplines including engineering, software development, bioengineering, psychophysiology, psychology, child neurodevelopment, and brain injury. Learn more about Dr. Cripe’s work by following this Facebook page.


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