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posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @02:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the be-still-my-bleeding-[silicone]-heart dept.

Soft hearted:

It looks like a real heart. And this is the goal of the first entirely soft artificial heart: to mimic its natural model as closely as possible. The silicone heart has been developed by Nicholas Cohrs, a doctoral student in the group led by Wendelin Stark, Professor of Functional Materials Engineering at ETH Zurich. The reasoning why nature should be used as a model is clear. Currently-used blood pumps have many disadvantages: their mechanical parts are susceptible to complications while the patient lacks a physiological pulse, which is assumed to have some consequences for the patient.

“Therefore, our goal is to develop an artificial heart that is roughly the same size as the patient’s own one and which imitates the human heart as closely as possible in form and function,” says Cohrs. A well-functioning artificial heart is a real necessity: about 26 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure while there is a shortage of donor hearts. Artificial blood pumps help to bridge the waiting time until a patient receives a donor heart or their own heart recovers.

The soft artificial heart was created from silicone using a 3D-printing, lost-wax casting technique; it weighs 390 grams and has a volume of 679 cm3. “It is a silicone monoblock with complex inner structure,” explains Cohrs. This artificial heart has a right and a left ventricle, just like a real human heart, though they are not separated by a septum but by an additional chamber. This chamber is in- and deflated by pressurized air and is required to pump fluid from the blood chambers, thus replacing the muscle contraction of the human heart.

Would you rather replace your organs with models made from soft materials, or titanium?


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @03:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @03:12AM (#605484)

    Heart disease is a leading cause of death IIRC, I wonder how long it will remain one.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday December 05, @03:12AM (7 children)

    As much as I approve of silicone for body modification and electronics for many, many things, we need a third and more manly option. I propose the diesel heart.

    Eight cylinders of pitch black smoke spewing power carried in a backpack and connected directly to the circulatory system via chromed blood lines through the chest. No muffler. Supercharger available as an aftermarket part.

    --
    We've got #BieberFever [soylentnews.org]!
    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday December 05, @03:37AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @03:37AM (#605492) Journal

      Supercharger? So, you're naturally aspirated. Luddite. I'll take mine turbocharged.

      --
      #Hillarygropedme
    • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Tuesday December 05, @04:10AM (1 child)

      by JNCF (4317) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @04:10AM (#605498) Journal

      Nuclear or bust!

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by DutchUncle on Tuesday December 05, @03:00PM

        by DutchUncle (5370) on Tuesday December 05, @03:00PM (#605647)

        >>> Nuclear or bust!

        Bust. We have to use all that silicone.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday December 05, @06:32AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @06:32AM (#605519)

      Nothing less than Crank: High Voltage [wikipedia.org] is satisfying.

    • (Score: 2) by stretch611 on Tuesday December 05, @07:15AM (2 children)

      by stretch611 (6199) on Tuesday December 05, @07:15AM (#605529)

      Diesel... No.

      I want Apple to make it.

      This way everything is one size fits all, regardless of the size of the person using it.
      The cost of the hardware will be 3x more than competitors.
      Only apple approved software will be allowed and all software must kick back 30% to apple.
      If there is a problem with the battery, the entire heart will need to be replaced and not covered by warranty.
      Everything will be backed up to the cloud... Which is good because you will be having your own cloud by the time it is sent to apple care and back when it fails because no one local will be authorized to work on it.

      But.. It will look stylish...
      Not to mention all competitors will be sued because the look and feel of connecting to the Aorta and Pulmonary Artery are covered by Apple's Design patents.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday December 05, @07:24AM (1 child)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 05, @07:24AM (#605533)

        I hate a square hearth with rounded corners.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @07:39AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @07:39AM (#605535)

    So why not make 2 hearts? One as a failover in case the main one dies? You know, have 2 micropumps that keep pressure at 50mmHg continuously .. if one fails, you have a failover. Then you have the additional one that provides for the pulse of additional 50mmHg.

    Then if the pulsating heart fails, you have the micropumps. And 2 micropumps so not a single point of failure either. Then replace as needed.

    Now this doesn't solve all circulatory issues since strokes or narrowing of arteries or aneurysms are problem there too. But it removes the single point of failure.

    • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Tuesday December 05, @08:06AM (1 child)

      by choose another one (515) on Tuesday December 05, @08:06AM (#605542)

      You missed the obvious one about where on the chest to put two silicone hearts...

      But that brings up the other issue with " replace your organs with models made from soft materials, or titanium?", which is it may not be the material of _your_ organs that is the only concern, "would you rather have your hands on silicone or titanium?"

      Mind you, the future is probably soft robots and hard humans.

    • (Score: 2) by DutchUncle on Tuesday December 05, @03:03PM

      by DutchUncle (5370) on Tuesday December 05, @03:03PM (#605649)

      Sorry, that still won't make you a Time Lord.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @12:07PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, @12:07PM (#605588)

    My broken heart?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Tuesday December 05, @04:12PM

      by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Tuesday December 05, @04:12PM (#605683)

      But will it fix... My broken heart?

      Maybe. [webmd.com]

      It's still funny, but there is a known link between emotional state and heart function - it's not just your brain making up feelings that your chest is heavy. And people who have heart surgery have experienced changes in personality (for the better and worse) - your blood flow or it's pump gets changes, your personality changes a little.

      I like the concept.... your mind, body, and spirit are ultimately one. This side of death, anyway....

  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Tuesday December 05, @10:38PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Tuesday December 05, @10:38PM (#605861)

    Well, it is obvious that it was designed for Shrimply Pibbles [wikia.com]. Amirite? Can I get a Wubba Lubba Dub Dub, anyone?

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