HybridHeart will provide a cure for heart failure, which affects ~23 million people worldwide. Hybrid Heart will consist of a soft robotics shell with actuators (‘artificial muscles’) and sensors, enabling completely natural motion. The inner lining and structures will be made by in situ tissue engineering (TE), ensuring biocompatibility of blood-contacting surfaces.
To achieve the ambitious goal the participants will, in parallel, develop the components of the HybridHeart: 1) a soft elastomeric robotics shell containing actuators and sensors, 2) scaffolds for in situ TE of inner lining, valves and vessels and 3) a wireless energy transfer system. These components together will form the full HybridHeart, which will be soft, adaptable, wireless and fully bio- and hemocompatible. Both functionality as well as biocompatibility of the HybridHeart will be shown in a Proof-of-Principle study in the chronic sheep model at the end of the project.
The technology underlying the HybridHeart is applicable to a range of soft robotics-based artificial organs, including the bowel, lung, or muscle structures (limbs). Replacing an entire organ with bioinspired robotic elements, TE biocompatible surfaces, artificial sensors, and an external power source allows for an off-the-shelf therapy for patients with organ failure.