This week in science, a revolutionary new device was tested successfully- a robotic sleeve for your heart. Designed to squeeze and pump failing hearts, this device works to do what an injured heart simply can not. On January 18, Science Translational Medicine reported that a new device designed to keep failing hearts alive until a transplant is possible was tested positively on a pig heart – a huge step in moving towards use in humans.
Over 5.7 people in America alone suffer from heart failure, with long transplant waiting lists. Since there aren’t enough hearts to go around, we have to come up with gadgets to keep bad hearts pumping. Currently, we use pacemakers, which have to be monitored closely and can cause problems by the necessary location of placement- including requiring use of several medications such as blood thinners. This robotic heart hugger never comes in contact with your boodstream, and uses compressed air to power ‘muscles’ (made of silicone serving the same purpose), making it a safer option, and eliminates the need for medications and daily monitoring.
Unlike other devices created to stimulate hearts, this one’s made to mimic and act like natural heart tissue, as close to a robotic heart as we’ve ever created. Its muscles and compressions act much in the same way, squeezing and twisting as our own muscles do when working properly. Truly, there could be great potential for this astounding scientific device to save thousands annually, if not more. Once again proving, science and geekery shall conquer humanity! Err, save humanity. Totally what I meant.
While a far cry from an ARC Reactor, this device does give one hope that science is happily going down a glorious track towards supersuits and cyborgs. Technology continues to progress by leaps and bounds. I for one am ready to welcome our new robot overlords.