Ferrofluid heart mimics human biology to circulate blood

ferrofluid heart mimics human biology to circulate blood fauxheart 

Imagine for a moment that you wake one day to discover your heart is failing. Thanks to modern medical science this isn’t as big a problem as you’d think (or at least not as much as it would have been 50 years ago), as doctors can simply replace the broken bits of your heart with machines that will keep your blood pumping. That said, heart transplants are far from ideal; there is no machine in existence that can exactly duplicate the miraculous functionality of the human heart.

At least, not yet, though a new artificial heart design utilizing the unique properties of ferrofluids may prove a far more useful replacement than our current mechanical methods of heart replacement.

Designed by Suprock Technologies in New Hampshire, this novel faux heart uses no motors or mechanical parts. Instead, an electromagnet is used to attract magnetic particles within a ferrofluid-filled elastic membrane. In effect, this membrane mimics the expansion and contraction of human muscle tissue, and a group of these membranes, filled with ferrofluid and programed to expand and contract in the proper order could, in theory, duplicate the pumping action of a living heart.

“Membrane concepts have been explored using pneumatics or hydraulics; however, we are finding that ferrofluid provides more precise control and is more compact,” says engineer Chris Suprock. “Moreover, the ferrofluid action is electric and can be powered from outside the body without physical contact.”

According to New Scientist, Suprock Technologies is currently testing two designs, “one that uses two chambers with valves, and another less traditional version that uses ferrofluid in a roller pump.” Suprock believes the latter design offers more promise however, as “it doesn’t require valves or mechanical obstacles that interrupt flow.”

For those of you still scratching your head as to what exactly ferrofluid is, we would direct your attention to this YouTube clip of the bizarre goo in action. We could also tell you that they are “a stable colloidal suspension of sub-domain magnetic particles in a liquid carrier” (which gives them properties of both fluids and of magnets), but you really don’t get a grasp of how interesting and utterly alien ferrofluid can be without seeing it in action.

Now, having seen that, it’s totally reasonable to wonder exactly how Chris Suprock’s artificial heart is supposed to work. Fortunately, the man filmed a video demo of the thing in action.

Emerging Tech

San Francisco won the battle, but the war on facial-recognition has just begun

San Francisco has become the first city in America to ban facial recognition. Well, kind of. While the ruling only covers certain applications, it's nonetheless vitally important. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX calls off Starlink launch just 15 minutes before liftoff

High winds above Cape Canaveral on Wednesday night forced SpaceX to postpone the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket in a mission that would have marked the first major deployment of the company’s Starlink internet satellites.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX scraps second effort to launch 60 Starlink satellites

Wednesday's planned SpaceX launch of 60 Starlink satellites was pushed back due to bad weather. Thursday's launch has also been postponed, so the company said it will try again next week.
Emerging Tech

UV-activated superglue could literally help to heal broken hearts

Scientists at China's Zhejiang University have developed a UV-activated adhesive glue that is capable of efficiently healing damage to organs, including the heart. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

USC’s penny-sized robotic bee is the most sci-fi thing you’ll see all week

Engineers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles have built a bee-inspired robot that weighs just 95 milligrams and is smaller than a penny. Check it out in action here.
Emerging Tech

Purdue’s robotic hummingbird is nearly as nimble as the real thing

A team of engineers in Purdue University’s Bio-Robotics Lab have developed an impressively agile flying robot, modeled after the hummingbird. Check it out in all its robotic hovering glory.
Emerging Tech

Watch this drone dodge an incoming soccer ball autonomously

Most drones aren't very good at avoiding incoming objects. But now a team from the University of Zurich has developed a drone which can dodge, swoop, and dive to avoid an incoming football.
Emerging Tech

Experts warn 5G could interfere with weather forecasts, reducing accuracy by 30%

Experts and officials have warned that interference from 5G wireless radios could seriously compromise the ability to forecast weather, including the prediction of extreme weather events like hurricanes.
Emerging Tech

Chang’e 4 mission may have found minerals from beneath the surface of the moon

China's Chang'e 4 mission has made a major discovery: minerals that could be from beneath the surface of the moon. The lander spotted two unexpected mineral types which match what is believed to exist in the mantle.
Emerging Tech

See the impact site where the Beresheet spacecraft crashed into the moon

An image of the crash site of SpaceIL's ill-fated Beresheet spacecraft has been captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and is being analyzed for information about the moon's soil.
Emerging Tech

See a fly-over of Mars and track the path Curiosity will take up Mount Sharp

A new animation from NASA shows a fly-over of Mount Sharp on Mars, the location where the Curiosity rover is currently exploring. It also shows the path that Curiosity will take over the next few years.
Emerging Tech

Two galaxies play tug of war in this spectacular Hubble image

Hubble has captured evidence of a nearby galactic neighbor affecting the the shape and star production of a galaxy. The irregular galaxy NGC 4485 has been pulled into an unusual shape due to the nearby and much larger galaxy NGC 4490.
Emerging Tech

The moon is shrinking as it loses heat, new images reveal

New research suggests the Moon is shrinking. NASA scientists have used data from their Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera to look at wrinkles in the surface of the Moon which are formed as it loses heat and shrinks in size.
Emerging Tech

Friendly cube robot Bumble passes its first hardware test aboard the ISS

There are some unexpected guests aboard the International Space Station (ISS): cute cube robots called Astrobees. Now the first Astrobee robot has undergone hardware tests to check whether its subsystems are working correctly.