The Biomedical Engineering Research and Development Center (BERDC) at the China Medical University and Hospital was established in August 2009. The center focuses on conducting translational research in biomedical electronics, developing medical instrumentation originated from unmet clinical needs, and eventually, promoting and marketing the developed medical instruments. With such goals in mind, we tightly integrate research and development personnel from both engineering and the biomedical sciences to bridge the gap between these otherwise non-overlapping fields.
We have recently devised a brain-computer-interface (BCI)-controlled neurorehabilitation apparatus based on a rehabilitation device used in clinical practice—the table bike. This BCI-controlled neurorehab device is capable of detecting the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) EEG features from stroke patients to control the “on” and “off” operations of the table bike. In so doing, the new neurorehab device is to force the stroke patients to connect their brain into the stroke rehabilitation process. On the other hand, the same BCI-based beurorehab concept can also be applied to train the children with cerebral palsy (CP). Given their limited control over the extremities, brain EEG signals can be the optimal way for them to interact with their environment, which can further facilitate their daily activity, such as playing video games. As a result, we have developed a series of BCI-controlled video games for the children with CP to not only provide them the daily entertainment activity but also train them to maintain their attention level as well as better relieve their muscle tone through the neurofeedback mechanism provided by the BCI-controlled video games. In the past four years, we also hosted four times of Assistive Device Video Game Contest every year for these children with CP to demonstrate their capability of using such BCI-controlled video games and compete against their peers and even other able-body children. Most of the children with CP expressed that this is the only activity they would be able to participate during their life. With such BCI-based neurorehab devices, we wish to largely improve the progress of the rehabilitation process and, more importantly, to improve patients’ quality of life.
In addition, we have also devoted ourselves in devising hyperspectral imaging systems for early oral cancer screening. With funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Health and Welfare, we were also able to develop a hyperspectrum-based cancer tissue screening system to find potential optical biomarkers reflecting the existence of cancer tissues. We have conducted a series of tests on dissected tumor tissues from both oral cancer patients and animal models and found profound hyperspectral waveform associated with well-differentiated cancer tissues. The results had been published on SCI journals and several related patents have also been issued with some being granted already. Other projects including smart mattress for preventing patients from falling, telemedicine service systems, as well as medical device invention and realization project have been also initiated and carried out for years at BERDC. Because our nursing department has indicated that patients’ falling from beds or onto the floor is the number one adverse event inside a hospital, we have developed and experimented an in-bed position-monitoring mattress to predict and detect when patients leave their beds. This mattress has been so successful that we have attracted a company to license our granted patents for mass-production in the near future. To further expand the service territory of our hospital, we plan to pioneer a brand new type of telemedicine service at our hospital in the future. To achieve our center missions, we have worked hard to uncover the talents of our members (e.g., medical doctors, nurses, clinicians, physicians, and engineers) and to show their brilliant inventions—often inspired by their daily services—to potential prototyping providers and manufacturers, such as the members of the Alliance of Innovation in Traditional Industry (AITI) in Taichung. In so doing, we hope to help CMUH members transform their ideas into reality and, most importantly, to improve the quality of our patient care.