Carla Schaffer/AAAS

This Soft Robot Hugs the Heart and Helps It Beat

A new device uses compressed air to help damaged hearts pump blood, which could help 5.7 million people diagnosed with heart failure in the US each year.

Video with design and demonstration of the soft robotic ventricular assist device. | Payne et al., Sci. Robot. 2, eaan6736 (2017)
The soft robotic ventricular assist device consists of an exterior soft-robotic heart-hugging “sleeve” (comprised of soft actuators) and an interior anchor that braces the interventricular septum — a sturdy wall separating the heart’s two ventricles.
The device was tested on beating pig hearts. | Payne et al., Sci. Robot. 2, eaan6736 (2017)