Image of the Day: Bionic Heart

A bioengineered heart made of pig and synthetic tissues beats like the real thing.

Amy Schleunes
Amy Schleunes
Jan 30, 2020
Ultrasounds of the biorobotic heart and an in vivo pig’s heart
Park et al., Sci Robot. 5, eaay9106 (2020)

Anew robotic heart can contract and expand with a remarkably lifelike beat, researchers reported yesterday (January 29) in Science Robotics.

The researchers created the robotic heart as a tool to better test devices used to treat cardiac issues. “Regulatory testing of cardiac devices requires many fatigue tests and animal tests,” Ellen Roche assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT says in a university media release. “[The new device] could realistically represent what happens in a real heart, to reduce the amount of animal testing or iterate the design more quickly.”

In this study, the heart only simulated the left ventricle. In the future, the team wants to expand the robotic heart to include both ventricles and simulate blood moving through it.

C. Park, et al., “An organosynthetic dynamic heart model with enhanced biomimicry guided by cardiac diffusion tensor imaging,” Science Robotics, doi: 10.1126/scirobotics.aay9106, 2020.

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at aschleunes@the-scientist.com.