A study published by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the journal Science Robotics revealed that they have invented a 3D robotic human heart that looks and pumps exactly like the real thing.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed 3D-printed human heart replicas.
The replicas are so accurate that their hearts even look and beat like those of patients.
The gentle robot-like movements of the hearts are intended to aid cardiac surgeons in making life-saving choices regarding how to best operate on a human heart.
A graduate student at MIT named Luca Rosalia stated: “All hearts are different.
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“There are massive variations, especially when patients are sick.
“The advantage of our system is that we can recreate not just the form of a patient’s heart, but also its function in both physiology and disease.”
The hearts could be used by doctors to personalize patient care.
This is due to the fact that the soft robots show the surgeon without the need for an intrusive treatment how the patient’s heart pumps and any variations in valve size.
Medical photos are used to create a 3D heart model, which is then used to create heart replicas.
The researchers then use a unique kind of polymer ink to 3D-print this model.
This results in a physically soft and malleable representation of the patient’s heart.
Then, using a sleeve they put over the heart, scientists can control it.
The heart is moved identically to how the patient’s natural heart beats thanks to a connection between the sleeve and an air pressure system.
The MIT team expects that doctors will use their technology to choose the optimum kind of artificial valve to implant into a patient, among other things.
Last year, researchers from the Universities of Toronto and Montreal in Canada engineered a major piece of the human heart that beats normally.
The journal Science Robotics has published the researchers’ findings.