What you’re looking at above is a beating rabbit’s heart. Looks cool, doesn’t it? The heart is beating thanks to a specialized membrane that was created that keeps the heart pumping even outside the body of its original host.
The electronic membrane could one day help human hearts beating at the perfect rate. Developed by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis, the 3D-printed membrane could arrive to human hearts in the next 10 to 15 years.
Through a series of scans, the membrane was fitted to the shape of the rabbit heart. First, while the rabbit was alive, scientists scanned its heart and created a 3D computer model. They then printed the model using a 3D printer to create a mold for the membrane. After which they removed the heart from the rabbit and applied the membrane.
Washington University’s biomedical engineer Igor Efimov says that it is a huge advancement. The circuits that you see surrounding the membrane are a combination of sensors that constantly track the heart’s behavior; which is similar to the way a pacemaker works.
The membrane is still a ways away from becoming something that can be used with humans, but when it eventually does, the membrane could be revolutionary.