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

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods struggles to keep up with Impossible Burger demand

Red Robin and White Castle have reported Impossible Burger shortages, as it appears that Impossible Foods is struggling to keep up with demand. The company will be selling its meat-like patties in retail outlets within the year.
Emerging Tech

Pass the salt please: Table salt found on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Astronomers have spotted something unexpectedly familiar on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa -- sodium chloride, better known as table salt. This suggests the under-ice oceans on Europa are salty and similar to our oceans on Earth.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures explosive galaxy, the site of three recent supernovae

Hubble's latest image is of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051 which is notable for having played host to a large number of supernovae: the first seen in 1983 (SN 1983I), the second in 2003 (SN 2003ie), and the most recent in 2010 (SN 2010br).
Emerging Tech

The grainy texture of Saturn’s rings reveals clues to their origins

New analysis of data from Cassini shows that Saturn's rings are not smooth, but rather are grainy in texture. Scientists believe that tiny moons within the rings cause materials to cluster and form clumps and straw-like patterns.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope gets upgrade to aid its hunt for habitable exoplanets

The Very Large Telescope is growing even bigger. The latest addition to the telescope's suite of instruments is a tool called NEAR (Near Earths in the AlphaCen Region) which will hunt for exoplanets in the nearby Alpha Centauri star…
Emerging Tech

Your smartphone could be the key to predicting natural disasters

A challenge for atmospheric scientists is gathering enough data to understand the complex, planet-wide weather system. Now a scientist has come up with a clever idea to gather more data using smartphones and Internet of Things devices.
Emerging Tech

Tormented robot pulls a gun on its creators in latest Boston Dynamics spoof

Boston Dynamics' remarkable robots often receive a good few shoves in its videos, and the eager mistreatment recently inspired a team of L.A.-based video artists to give its rather amusing take on the matter.
Smart Home

A new survey by Adobe shows an evolving market for voice applications

A new consumer survey conducted by Adobe Analytics has uncovered a growing desire for more diversity in voice-controlled applications and devices as well as growing engagement with voice ads.
Emerging Tech

Live long and prosper? Experimental compound could slow down the aging process

Want to extend your natural lifespan beyond its current limits? A metabolite of biomolecules — found in pomegranates of all places — could help slow the aging process. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Airbus’ new single-aisle jet has longest range in its class and a fancy cabin

Airbus has unveiled the design of its new A321XLR jet, an aircraft that it says will be capable of trips of around 5,400 miles, making it the world's longest range single-aisle airliner when it takes to the skies in 2023.
Computing

Google Calendar is back online. Here’s the latest on the outage

Google Calendar is down, and that means that instead of a day packed with back-to-back meetings and timely reminders, users are instead being treated to an error message. Here's the latest on the worldwide outage.
Emerging Tech

A tiny magnet accomplishes enormous feat, sets a new world record

A magnet housed in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has set a record for the strongest continuous DC magnetic field ever recorded. Here's why that matters to our future.
News

Brush up on your makeup skills with YouTube’s new augmented reality feature

YouTube will soon let users try on makeup while watching popular makeup tutorials through augmented reality. Viewers will be able to actually try on the makeup products the online tutorials are showcasing and promoting.