Soft Robotic Heart Valves Mimic Real Movements of Human Heart
Researchers at Harvard University have designed a soft robotic cardiac simulator that can move with a 3D motion similar to how an actual heart valve twists when blood pumps through it. The top images show the team's heart prototype as it is subjected to various pressures. The middle images show a computer model of the mesh only as it deforms at corresponding pressures, and below is a computer model showing how the heart PAMs and mesh change their motion in response to the different pressure regimes. (U indicates displacement.) (Source: Harvard University)
This is quite an amazing breakthrough for artificial heart research, bringing artificial technology ever closer to actually acting like a real human heart. Sometimes it's hard to undersstand the scope of these type of innovations if you don't actually see the result or need to use such a device, but when you look at projects like The Bionic Man (http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=270180), it is a bit easier to understand the impact.
Seeing all the body parts that can now be replaced by very realistic artificial devices also shows the scope of such research and design: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=270585
Thanks for your comment, NadineJ. I thought it was fascinating, too, and has a lot of potential to improve not just artificial hearts but other artificial organs as well. This is the way forward for improving healthcare and people's lives.
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