Engineers at Cornell University have created a cardiovascular device out of synthetic, porous material that is, more or less, the memory foam of artificial hearts.
According to a paper published by the scientific journal Advanced Materials, the material — alternately called a poroelastic foam or an elastomeric foam — was produced using a 3D printer and a heart-like-shaped mould that can be used more than once, which would significantly lower production costs if the model were eventually patented and hypothetically used as an average go-to implant.
The strawberry-shaped elastomer foamer is also pretty self-sufficient, utilizing pneumatic tubes and pumps to generate "physiologically relevant frequencies and pressures ... [attaining] a flow rate higher than all previously-reported soft pumps," i.e., a soft robotic heart that mimics the way an actual heart would circulate blood, or, in the case of its test run, "fluids and air." The reason? As the term "elastomeric" connotes, the elasticity of the memory foam-like robo-cover, enabling it to pump in a more organic fashion (or, as the researchers themselves put it, makes it ideal or "essential for efficient pumping as it directs inflation inwards toward the internal fluid chambers").
Watch Cornell researcher Rob Shepherd discuss the artificial elastomer foamer heart in the video below.