Robotic Hybrid Heart Could End Lengthy Transplant Waiting Lists
The heart is made using soft artificial muscles and sensors and then coated in lab-grown human tissue. Futuristic enough for ya?
Scientists behind the heart have said they aim to try it on animals within three years, with plans to put one inside a human by 2028.
The HybridHeart was thought up by Dutch scientists who hope it could be used to help combat the organ shortage.
Lead researcher Professor Jolanda Kluin, of Amsterdam University Medical Centre (UMC) said: "There is a need for radical new solution. We're decades away from building a living heart from a patient's own cells, if we will ever be able to do it, but some three years ago I saw a picture in a Dutch newspaper, a picture of a soft robotic starfish, and it could move and swim like a living starfish.
"Suddenly I saw the potential for merging the benefits of biology with power of soft robotics, for a hybrid heart, the first ever solution for end stage heart failure.
"Soft robotic artificial cardiac muscles precisely mimic the human heart, so the hybrid heart really beats like a real heart. And it is lined by the patient's own cells preventing clotting, infection and reaction.
"The energy transfer is wireless so that the patient experiences real freedom."
Professor Kluin drew on her own experiences of heart disease to help her work on the project, adding: "It really hurt when I saw my father, you know, dying of heart failure, After a life of hard working and fleet of plans for his retirement.
"It was hard to see him knowing there was nothing doctors could do."
The cyber heart is one of four projects that has been shortlisted to win £30 million ($39m) in funding from the British Heart Foundation.
The worldwide initiative, called the Big Beat Challenge, has set out to try and find 'transformational solutions to tackle the world's biggest killer'.
Other projects include a 'genetic cure' for inherited conditions and a 'google map' of atherosclerosis to help detect and develop immunotherapies against heart attack and stroke.
You can find out more about the projects here.
Featured Image Credit: PA