Sleeve attaches directly around the heart
Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital researchers have developed a customizable soft robot that fits around a heart and helps it beat, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure.
The soft robotic sleeve twists and compresses in synch with a beating heart, augmenting cardiovascular functions weakened by heart failure. Unlike currently available devices that assist heart function, Harvard’s soft robotic sleeve does not directly contact blood. This reduces the risk of clotting and eliminates the need for a patient to take potentially dangerous blood thinner medications. The device may one day be able to bridge a patient to transplant or to aid in cardiac rehabilitation and recovery.
“This research demonstrates that the growing field of soft robotics can be applied to clinical needs and potentially reduce the burden of heart disease and improve the quality of life for patients,” said Ellen T. Roche, the paper’s first author and former PhD student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Roche is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Ireland Galway.
“This work represents an exciting proof of concept result for this soft robot, demonstrating that it can safely interact with soft tissue and lead to improvements in cardiac function. We envision many other future applications where such devices can delivery mechanotherapy both inside and outside of the body,” said Conor Walsh, senior author of the paper and the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS and Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute.
Heart failure affects 41 million people worldwide. Today, some of the options to treat it are mechanical pumps called ventricular assist devices (VADs), which pump blood from the ventricles into the aorta, and heart transplant. While VADs are continuously improving, patients are still at high risk for blood clots and stroke.
To create an entirely new device that doesn’t come into contact with blood, Harvard researchers took inspiration from the heart itself. The thin silicone sleeve uses soft pneumatic actuators placed around the heart to mimic the outer muscle layers of the mammalian heart. The actuators twist and compress the sleeve in a similar motion to the beating heart.
The device is tethered to an external pump, which uses air to power the soft actuators.
The sleeve can be customized for each patient, said Roche. If a patient has more weakness on the left side of the heart, for example, the actuators can be tuned to give more assistance on that side. The pressure of the actuators can also increase or decrease over time, as the patient’s condition evolves.
The sleeve is attached to the heart using a combination of a suction device, sutures and a gel interface to help with friction between the device and the heart.
The SEAS and Wyss engineers worked with surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital to develop the device and determine the best ways to implant the device and test it on animal models.
“The cardiac field had turned away from idea of developing heart compression instead of blood-pumping VADs due to technological limitations, but now with advancements in soft robotics it’s time to turn back,” said Frank Pigula, a cardiothoracic surgeon and co-corresponding author on the study, who was formerly clinical director of pediatric cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital and is now a faculty member at University of Louisville and division chief of pediatric cardiac surgery at Norton Children’s Hospital. “Most people with heart failure do still have some function left; one day the robotic sleeve may help their heart work well enough that their quality of life can be restored.”
More research needs to be done before the sleeve can be implanted in humans but the research is an important first step towards an implantable soft robot that can augment organ function.
Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has filed a patent application and is actively pursuing commercialization opportunities.
“This research is really significant at the moment because more and more people are surviving heart attacks and ending up with heart failure,” said Roche. “Soft robotic devices are ideally suited to interact with soft tissue and give assistance that can help with augmentation of function, and potentially even healing and recovery.”
Learn more: Soft robot helps the heart beat
Receive an email update when we add a new SOFT ROBOTS article.
The Latest on: Customizable soft robot
via Google News
The Latest on: Customizable soft robot
- Structural changes of proteins help design shape-morphing materialon November 29, 2019 at 2:40 am
That’s the goal of soft robotics, but a major obstacle in advancing the field has been finding flexible ... temperature or pH. Khoury credits the custom instrumentation built by Popa with helping them ...
- Global Autonomous Robots Weeder Market Size, in-Depth Insights, Growth and Forecast to 2025on November 27, 2019 at 10:16 am
The Key manufacturers that are operating in the global Autonomous Robots Weeder market are: EcoRobotix, Naio Technologies, Vision Robotics Corporation, Harvest Automation, Soft Robotics Inc., Abundant ...
- Kraiburg TPE lets learning robot Photon show its feelingson November 26, 2019 at 8:40 am
DUESSELDORF, Germany—Photon, an educational robot that learns, has been around for the past couple of years ... At K 2019, the Waldkraiburg, Germany-based company introduced four new Thermolast K ...
- 43 Best Amazon Black Friday Deals 2019 (Updated!)on November 25, 2019 at 3:49 pm
Sure, deals on a robot vacuum or MacBook are cool and all ... Save $400 the TEMPUR-Cloud Prima Medium-Soft Twin Mattress, complete with luxury cooling memory foam layers. That brings the price all the ...
- iRobot Braava jet 240 Mopping Robot reviewon November 25, 2019 at 9:58 am
Unlike many robot vacuum cleaners, the Braava jet 240 doesn't use "bot boundary" strips on your floor or customizable maps on your phone to delineate where the ... We preferred the iLife W400's soft ...
- 3D-Printing and Machine Learning Control of Soft Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuatorson November 25, 2019 at 2:16 am
actuators for soft robotics applications. First, an additive manufacturing method that exploits the fused-filament (3D printing) process is described to overcome challenges with existing methods of ...
- Gifts for kids 2019: Top toys, dolls and games for lasting funon November 19, 2019 at 9:27 am
Educational Insights Artie 3000 The Coding Robot: This cute robot teaches kids to write the code that gets Artie ... $39 at amazon.com Mattel Creatable World Dolls: These new, inclusive doll kits ...
- Honeywell Establishes Robotics Innovation Hub For Next Generation Distribution Centerson November 17, 2019 at 1:40 pm
The company, through its Honeywell Ventures investment fund, has strategic investments in robotics companies, including Soft Robotics and Attabotics ... the broadest range of personal protective ...
- Surgical Robots Market Is Expected To Witness A Robust CAGR Of 13.4% Over The Forecast Period 2017-2025on October 20, 2019 at 9:22 pm
Surgical robots can easily reach under soft tissues to operate on organs that otherwise require an open surgery ... Coherent Market Insights is a prominent market research and consulting firm offering ...
via Bing News