3D printing has hit the home run with yet another medical breakthrough. This time around scientists have discovered a way to keep the heart up and running perpetually. A 3D printed electronic membrane performs the magic for this to accomplish. As an alternative to most pacemakers out there, the 3D printed electronic glove is fit over the heart in order to get the job done. Let us shed some light on how this revolutionary idea was translated into reality.
Based in St. Louis and Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois researchers employed one 3D printer and computer modeling technology for the creation of a prototype electronic glove. As you would usually expect with scientific experimentation, it was first tested on an animal’s (rabbit) heart by fitting it over. The electronic glove stretches over the heart as if it were a stretchable glove which explains the elasticity.
A wide network of electrodes as well as various sensors with the membrane allows for consistent monitoring of the activity of the heart, its health condition and also makes it possible to deliver an electrical shock when required. This could really come in handy in a crucial situation such as a heart attack. The electrical stimuli facilitate the consistent pumping of the heart and thereby, the consistent flow of blood.
The electronic glove is custom designed so that it is easier to fit any heart, thanks also to the employment of high resolution imaging tech. Having said that, this particular piece of membrane is able to interact with the heart in more than one ways. The possibilities are virtually endless, but most important of all the heart continues to beat.
The concept is not entirely new as ‘cardiac socks’ caught people’s attention in 1980 but the sewn fabric sleeves were not as dependable as the stretchable electronic glove. So then, it seems like keeping one young at heart forever would not be a problem anymore. You will have to hang in there for another 10 to 15 years, though, as it would not be made available to humans before that.