Foam Heart Could Pump Inside You Just Like The Real Thing, Cornell University Study

A heart of foam could replace your own. Researchers inspired by soft robots have built a pumping artificial heart that could one day replace the real deal.

Recent years have seen the development of soft robots that mimic snakes and tentacles. They are made from flexible plastic and powered by compressed air that makes the bots flex and move.

But the network of tubes required to deliver air limits most of these bots to simple, flat shapes, says Robert Shepherd of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. That’s why his team build their robots out of a solid, porous plastic foam, which naturally has an interconnected network of tubes to let air flow – just as our muscles are permeated by blood vessels. A solid coating of plastic seals everything inside like a skin.

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