Here’s a cozy, sensor-bedazzled cover that’s custom-tailored for your heart. For the first time ever, scientists have found a way to make multiple cardiac measurements simultaneously across the entire surface of a beating heart.
Previous sensors, which had to be glued or sewn to the heart’s surface, could only cover small areas. This new elastic silicon sheath completely envelops the heart, allowing it to measure and map various physiological parameters — from temperature and electrical activity to mechanical strain.
Drawing from medical imaging scans, a team led by John Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used a 3D printer to create an anatomically accurate reproduction of a rabbit heart. Once they had the heart template, they embedded tiny instruments in a silicon membrane designed to fit snugly over the heart. The components include sensors that measure pH and temperature, along with LEDs for mapping and gold electrodes to stimulate the heart. The end result: a form-fitting silicon sheath that keeps sensors in place, yet remains flexible enough to not interfere with cardiac pumping. … (Read more)