Those in manufacturing know that February is the time to put hearts on packages and morph products into the most romantic of ideographs – hearts. That’s not because it’s American Heart Month, either. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Consider that a public service announcement for any forgetful fellows with significant others.
People are eagerly anticipating tomorrow when they can bite into chocolate hearts and tear into chocolate marshmallows. While this is certainly exciting there’s something arguably more exciting, and objectively more important coming from the world of soft robotics.
Soft robotic ventricular assist devices
Researchers from Harvard University and Boston’s Children’s Hospital recently developed a soft robotic device that could help save lives. These ventricular assist devices help the heart pump blood throughout the body.
The device uses compressed air and artificial silicone muscles to reproduce the natural twisting and compressing movements of a human heart. These soft robotics sleeves fit around the heart. They could help keep your heart beating in the event of heart failure.
Two key advantages these robotic devices have is that they can be selectively controlled, and they don’t ever contact blood. The device can do one or both of its designed actions on one or both sides of the heart. Devices that currently assist with heart function must come in contact with blood.
So far, these ventricular assist devices have not been tested on human hearts. They have, however, shown promising results when tested on pig hearts.
How soft robots could save your life.
There’s a lot of excitement over this new technology because of the incredible impact it could have in medicine. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. It’s responsible for 1 out of 4 deaths in America each year.
This device could help ensure that hearts beat properly and provide possible treatments for heart failure. The sleeve would help assist with heart function after heart failure, which could potentially help save lives. It also shows just how useful sot robotics technology can be.