Artificial Hearts/heart implants are not a new thing. Similarly, the components used to create them have also remained the same for quite some time.
These electromechanical components were first used in non-medical liquid pumping applications, which were later adopted into the pumping function of the heart.
However effective this technology may be, it still comes with it’s own set of limitations. Scientists have been trying to get past these limitations by tweaking the design of artificial hearts for quite some time.
But now, a new creation from the engineers at Cornell University suggests that to improve upon the concept, we might just need to reinvent it completely.
To showcase this reinvention, they have developed a new type of artificial heart that uses Pneumatic Devices to pump the blood in a manner resembling an actual human heart.
To make this possible, the researchers used a new lightweight and stretchable material which has the consistency of memory foam, with pores that allow liquids to be pumped through it.
To create this unique formation, the material is first formed as a liquid, which is poured into a mold designed to create channels that can guide liquid to pass between different chambers and components.
The resultant structure is sturdy yet flexible, thus allowing the device to expand and contract based on the changing pressure of the liquid passing through.
To make sure that the liquid passes through it, but not out of it, the whole structure is coated in a Rubbery Elastomer, which gives it a unique texture.
Initial testing of this redesigned organ has showcased that it can generate pressures higher than any other soft pumps in the market and can also accurately mimic the frequencies of our natural heartbeats.
The researchers believe that with further development this new way of creating artificial organs could be used in prosthetic body parts, artificial organs and soft robotics.