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The University of Southampton
EngineeringWho we are

Biomedical Engineering

We work at the interface of engineering, biology and medicine; combining an understanding of human biology and medical needs to make the world a healthier place.

Using sound science and creative engineering, we've helped shape the world you know today.

Find out how we've been making history

1963

The Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) was established. Over its long history, members have continuously provided solutions to numerous challenges, from utilising ultrasonics for biomedical applications to using implantable hearing devices to help deaf adults and children.

Directors of the ISVR from 1963 - 1978
Directors of the ISVR from 1963 - 1978
Conducting research in the large anechoic chamber
Conducting research in the large anechoic chamber
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1969

Our researchers started work to develop a technique to measure the travelling wave velocity along the basilar membrane - the real centre of the hearing system. This lead to an objective test for the debilitating Ménière’s disease, and a way of evaluating the effectiveness of drug treatments.

Students using the Audiology Skills Laboratory
Students using the Audiology Skills Laboratory

1972

The first university degree for audiology in the UK was launched at the University of Southampton by Professor Ross Coles. Coles went on to influence the Department of Health to establish the national clinical training scheme for audiological scientists.

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Our research influenced noise exposure regulations
Our research influenced noise exposure regulations

Late 1970s

Research was carried out into the prevention of occupational noise-induced hearing loss. The resulting noise limits were developed and incorporated into the Health and Safety Executive’s noise exposure regulations, and into a British Standard.

1990

The ISVR Hearing and Balance Centre fitted their first cochlear implant device. Since then, the now renamed University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service, has transformed the lives of more than 1000 people and their research has formed the basis of NHS guidelines.

 

Smart stethescopes that are placed on the patient's skin
Smart stethescopes that are placed on the patient's skin

1991

Professor Tim Leighton developed an acoustic sensor with the potential to revolutionise kidney therapy, in collaboration with Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation and Precision Acoustics Ltd. The sensor allowed for the efficacy of treatment to be measured during kidney stone therapy, not possible using X-rays or ultrasounds.

 

Bubble acoustics
Bubble acoustics

1998

Academics working on bubble acoustics co-authored the current guidelines for every foetal scan in the world – that’s around 700 million births to date.

Fitting of a digital hearing aid
Fitting of a digital hearing aid

2000

Pivotal research by the ISVR led to the provision of digital hearing aids on the NHS.

Computer simulation of a knee replacement
Computer simulation of a knee replacement

2000

Using advanced computer simulations, our researchers began collaborative work to develop DePuy’s total knee replacement. In excess of 30,000 have been implanted worldwide.

Receiving the Queen's Anniversary Prize
Receiving the Queen's Anniversary Prize

2005

The ISVR was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for improving the quality of life for the profoundly deaf and reducing noise pollution.

Infant hearing test
Infant hearing test

2006

The Newborn Hearing Screening Programme was introduced in the UK, after research by the University to develop the test. The research also contributed to the World Health Organisation’s recommendations for universal newborn hearing screening.

Research into hip replacements
Research into hip replacements

2008

The first ceramic-on-ceramic total hip replacement surgery took place, after development with the University of Southampton. By 2015 over 10,000 had been implanted worldwide and survivorship rates of >98% at five years were reported.

2010

The first UK operation to fit a single cochlear implant that was capable of giving sound in both ears, after work with the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre, now the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service.

 

StarStream® technology
StarStream® technology

2010

StarStream®, a device that uses low volumes of cold water and few or no additives to clean, is invented. This technology has the potential to fight against antimicrobial resistance and clean medical equipment in a cost effective and efficient way.

2014

The first hip surgery with a 3D-printed implant and bone stem cell graft took place. The patient-specific 3D printed hip was made from titanium using the patient’s CT scan and computer aided design and manufacturing technology.

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The ArterioSorbTM biodegradable scaffold
The ArterioSorbTM biodegradable scaffold

2015

In collaboration with Arterius Ltd, we have designed a biodegradable stent to open blocked coronary arteries, which then disappears enabling the vessels to recover normal function.

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