3D printing has resulted in a major reduction in research costs, enabling Polish scientists to create a fully functional artificial heart.
Medicine is an important field that has a lot to gain from 3D printing technology; researchers in Poland have recently managed to develop cardiac models which are being used to verify scientific hypotheses.
Researchers from the Cybernetics Department of the Military University of Technology in Warsaw hope that these experiments will result in the increased safety of artificial hearts in the future.
Right now, the hearts are being used purely for research. Though it doesn’t look much like a regular heart, but it is hoped that one day they may actually be used in practice.
Artificial Heart made with Zortrax 3D Printers
This innovative method of analysis and measurement relies purely on artificial hearts, which can be provided by 3D printing.
Involved in this project are; Dr. Krzysztof Murawski, PhD, Dr. Leszek Grad, PhD, Dr. Artur Arciuch, PhD, and prof. Pustelny and his team from the Optoelectronics Department of the Silesian University of Technology.
Together they are running tests on cardiac chamber models created using 3D printing technology and Zortrax M200 3D printers.
Several models of artificial hearts have been printed so far, and each model consists of a hematic chamber, a membrane, and a pneumatic chamber.
Both the hematic and pneumatic chambers have been created solely using 3D printing technology, but currently the membrane is obtained by molding silicone or rubber in previously prepared, 3D printed forms.
Impressively, a signature lab-based method of supplying power to the artificial heart’s chambers makes it possible to further improve the analysis and measurement techniques so that one day they may be used in practice.
The role of 3D printing in this project has been extremely useful. If the team where to buy commercially available artificial cardiac chambers, the price would be so high that research capabilities would be seriously limited.
Instead, 3D printing has allowed institutions to create similar, high-quality models for a fraction of the price. That means research can be continued, and more lives can be saved.
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