THE ROBOTS ARE coming. They’re coming to drive your car, they’re coming for your job, and they’re coming for your heart. Like, you may literally have a robotic heart one day.
That is, if a peculiar new device is any indication. Researchers have developed a robotic sleeve that fits over the heart (well, a pig’s heart at the moment) and pumps like the organ would itself. The idea is that if a patient is going into cardiac arrest, the best way to help the heart is to be the heart. One day that may mean patients with cardiac problems could get their own robotic heart to kick in if their ticker starts to give way.
This is the vanguard of a new breed of robots that not only get along with humans (when was the last time you had a pleasant experience with a crushingly powerful industrial robotic arm?), but interact safely with their flesh. And it’s forcing humanity to reconsider what a robot even is in the first place—because more and more, the robots will become a part of us.
So, the heart robot. Its “muscles” are made of silicone, compressing and twisting thanks to a series of actuators powered with air. In the lab, the researchers chemically induced cardiac arrest in pigs wearing the device, then monitored the electrical output of their heartbeats. “In the study, we ended up using a pacemaker to override the electrical activity of the heart, and pace it so we were controlling the rate at which the heart beat,” says lead author Ellen Roche, a biomedical engineer at the National University of Ireland, Galway. “Then, with that same signal, we were controlling our device.” Working with the heart, the robot increased blood flow through the aorta by 50 percent.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.