• Katherine Pan

Review of BN1111: Biomedical Engineering Principles and Practice I

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Year took: AY19/20 Semester 1

BN1111 is the first biomedical engineering module for most BME students. It serves as an introduction to the thought processes of biomedical engineers. From BN1111, I understood several key engineering concepts used to design medical instruments. Fundamental knowledge taught included how to examine, conceptualize, and represent medical instruments. BN1111 was split into two parts. In the first six weeks of the semester, the basics of SolidWorks were taught. After recess week, lab sessions commenced and replaced the SolidWorks component. As I took this module pre-COVID, some parts of my experience may be different. The assessment criteria are as follows:

1. Luminus Quizzes

2. In-class Quiz

3. SolidWorks Assignments

4. SolidWorks Mid-Term

5. Lab Activity Reports

6. Final Project Report – 10%

7. Project Oral Presentation – 10%

There is no final for BN1111. I apologize for not including the weightage of the components as I do not recall their values.


No physical lectures were held for BN1111. The lecture videos were pre-recorded and uploaded onto Luminus under the multimedia tab. The lecture videos on SolidWorks were less than an hour and were easy to understand. However, the lecture videos after week 7 were longer as more demanding concepts were taught. The lecture videos were great as they were concise and straight to the point. There were weekly Luminus quizzes to attempt after viewing the lecture. It consists of five multiple-choice questions and we have three tries to get full marks. I suggest checking answers with your friends so that you can secure full marks for your quizzes!

Besides Luminus quizzes, there was an in-class quiz on week 12/13. The quiz tests on topics taught from week 7 onwards and I felt that the focus was on the biology aspect of the module. I had not taken biology in 5 years and I could not remember the content that was tested. Hence, I did not do well for the in-class quiz.

Not going to lie, I scored below the median. (Source)


Weekly sessions were held at the computer labs in E2 and each session was three hours. The introductory session taught us how to sketch components from their isomeric view. During the session, prof Martin provided detailed explanations and gave guiding examples. The remaining sessions focused on teaching the basics and functions of SolidWorks. Prof Martin would guide the class on creating various medical devices in SolidWorks. Before moving onto the next step, he would go around the class to ensure everyone is on the same page. I thought that this was reflective of prof Martin's dedication to teaching as he made the effort to check on his students every session. Lessons were easy to follow and I could request help from the TAs if I encountered problems.

An example of a sketching question.

Assignments may be given after class and the deadline is one week. The assignments require the usage of SolidWorks as we modeled medical components. We could stay in the lab after the session and I would recommend doing so. Access to SolidWorks is only available at the computers at E2 and I could request help for the assignment from the TAs.

In week 7, there was a mid-term based on SolidWorks. The mid-term is comprised of sketching and a SolidWorks component. To prepare for mid-terms, I completed all the practices given and had redo the examples given in class. However, I still performed badly for mid-terms. I struggled with sketching as I could not visualize the component in its isometric view. Meanwhile, I could not model the component in SolidWorks because I was stuck and had no idea how to continue.


Laboratory Session:

Laboratory sessions started on week 8 and replaced the SolidWorks sessions. Experiments done in the lab will put to test the content covered in lectures. We were sorted into groups of 4/5 and there were activity sheets to fill up during the session. There were conceptual questions in the activity sheet as well. The professor will explain the concepts and give answers to the questions. Hence, I suggest listening carefully and take down notes as the activity sheets are graded. The activity sheets had to be submitted in hard copy within 3 working days.

I found most experiments to be manageable as clear instructions were given in the lab manual. If my group were unsure of what to do, we could easily clarify with the TA. The difficult part of the session was answering the conceptual questions in the activity sheet. As my lab session was on Friday afternoons, my teammates and I were usually burned out from the week. We would struggle to use our last brain cell to collectively think of a solution for the questions.

Please come back. (Source)

Final Project:

In week 9, details of the final project were disseminated. The scenario was that we are administrators at NUH purchasing medical devices. Each group had to prepare a writeup that analyzed the technical aspects of a medical device. The report will assist management in deciding which brand of device to purchase from. In the report, we had to elaborate on four segments. The segments were: the device background and usage, a comparison of alternatives within Singapore, problems associated with the device, and solutions that could mitigate these problems. The report will be around 2000 words and it was due on the last day of the semester. Besides the report, groups had to give a ten minutes presentation based on their findings in week 13. Teams were assigned to research on either the kidney dialysis machine or an intravenous infusion pump.

An example of an infusion pump. It is usually used to infuse medication, nutrients, or fluids directly into a patient's circulatory system. (Source)

My team researched on the intravenous infusion pump. I thought that it was relatively easy to gather information online. However, it was troublesome gathering the prices for the devices as it was not listed on the website. Hence, we had to email the companies individually to get accurate information. As we worked on the report, most of my team’s discussion focused on what should be included. Our report had over 4000 words and we were struggling to find content to remove. Fortunately, it was not a hard cap of 2000 words and other teams also faced the issue. Hence, we submitted our report that was just under 3000 words.

The content for the presentation came from the written report and we picked the most important points to present. My group met up earlier on presentation day to rehearse and coordinate our presentation. As we had sat in an air conditioned room for hours, I was freezing before the presentation. Coupled that my nervousness, I was shivering while giving the presentation. Fortunately, everything went well, and my team felt confident that we had done well.


All in all, I found BN1111 to be tough because the in-class quiz and SolidWorks mid-term caught me off-guard. I did not score well for those two components, and it dragged my overall grade down. Despite the disappointing results, I enjoyed the SolidWorks lessons. They were informative and easy to follow. The lab sessions and final project were arduous, but I was fortunate to have great teammates that made life easier.

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