This 3D-Printed Human Heart Can Do Everything a Real One Can


IN BRIEF

Soft robotics and 3D printing have allowed a team of researchers from Switzerland to develop an artificial heart that works like the real thing. This proof of concept design was successfully tested in the lab, but it may take a while before it will be ready.

Scientists have been developing artificial hearts for quite some time now. However, many of the current designs are unfortunately clunky, which presents difficulties in successfully integrating them into human tissue. To approach this issue, a team of researchers from ETH Zürich decided to take a cue from the biological human heart.

Instead of using separate parts, the Swiss team, led by Nicholas Cohrs, 3D-printed an artificial heart using a soft, flexible material. The material was molded into a single part (or a “monoblock”) which allowed the team to design a complex inner structure complete with pumping mechanisms able to be triggered by silicon ventricles. This method imitates a realistic human heartbeat.

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