HybridHeart will provide a cure for heart failure, which affects around 23 million people worldwide. HybridHeart 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, 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 tissue engineering 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 bio-inspired robotic elements, tissue engineering biocompatible surfaces, artificial sensors, and an external power source allows for an off-the-shelf therapy for patients with organ failure.