Artificial Organs: Scientists Develop a Silicon Heart for Humans

Twenty-six million people across the world suffer from heart failure each year. There is a shortage of donors and blood pumps are susceptible to complications.

A team from ETH Switzerland, however, has created a possible solution: the world’s first silicon heart. It closely resembles the functions of a real heart and is an inexpensive alternative to pacemakers.

The soft heart is actually a 3-D print — the lost cast-waxing method — and is very close to the human heart in shape and size. It weighs 390g and has a volume of 679 cubic centimeters.

The developer, Nicholas Cohrs, calls it “a silicon monoblock with complex inner structure,” and he’s right. This model comes complete with its own left and right ventricles and has an additional chamber instead of the septum. This chamber acts like a pump as it is inflated and deflated with pressurized air, and imitates the muscle functions of the human heart.

A New Direction

The heart was tested by Anastasios Petrou, a doctoral student at Product Development Group Zurich, who published his findings in the journal Artificial Organs. He had discovered that the silicon heart can only withstand the strain for 3000 beats, which is about forty-five minutes, but he’s still hopeful.

He said:

This was simply a feasibility test. Our goal was not to present a heart ready for implantation — but to think in a new direction for the development of hearts.

Zurich Heart Bringing Researchers Together

Cohrs and Petro met in the Zurich Heart Project, and have begun a joint research to improve this venture.

In a separate endeavor, a team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute has successfully mimicked the functions of the heart with the help of spinach leaves. In short, a solution seems close at hand.

Via WEForum


  • Mohammad Tayyab

    Etisilaat ne yeh payment pichle kai salon sy rok k rakhi hai.. Uska kaya???

  • Salman Ansari

    Unfortunately, not only has Etisalat not paid this using this excuse of 33 properties not being transferred. According to the SPA, these have to be valued at market price and adjusted. Why has the government not done so until now – over many years!

    The whole deal to give it to Etisalat was orchestrated by Shaukat Aziz, who bent over backwards to give it to them instead of the others who had quoted a more sensible figure (Singtel and another company). The Financial Manager at Etisalat had made a huge mistake in the evaluation and misled them to offer 2.4 Billion for the share and they wanted to back out by surrendering their security deposit. So, like many other nonsensical things Shaukat Aziz screwed up here as well.

    Due to sheer mismanagement and incompetence, the PTCL has been brought down from the place of a very high value, to an also-ran. I remember, when Etisalat bought PTCL they brought in so-called experts from Somalia and Ethiopia, etc and sidelined the most competent PTCL senior management. I had some meetings during those days with these ‘new management’ and could only wonder when the company will ground to a halt. I was involved very deep;y in this whole area and still have the SPA and other stuff with me.

    It is only due to this idiocy, that PTCL did not upgrade its Internet and kept on going with a dead technology of DSL (on copper, which is already more than 20 years old!). Telephones are rarely used anymore. Viber, Whatsapp, FB etc are better and free options. The only way to get to everyine is Optical Fibre or High speed Gigabit wireless.

    It is good for Pakistan, that Transworld, a Pakistani company is leading the broadband revolution in Pakistan and is putting in more landing sites and Terabits of bandwidth into Pakistan. Once again, PTCL left the space open. What about the National domestic fibre? Better options exist from companies like Multinet, etc. where PTCL did not invest.

    Then see GPON – compare Nayatel for its efficiency and service support to what the PTCL has to offer…

    UFone was the leader of the pack. Slowly they changed the management and recentlybrought it under PTCL and …. Ufone does not exist in the scheme of things anymore.

    I wonder, if as a private citizen, one can go to the court and ask for a public explanation from Eisalat. After all this was supposed to be a National Company and not to be given to amateurs to ruin it. GoP still is the major shareholder…