Robot created to treat ailing hearts

Apr 20, 2007

U.S. scientists have created a robotic device that can be inserted onto a heart using minimally invasive surgery to deliver medical treatment.

Resembling a robotic caterpillar, the device developed by Cameron Riviere and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University can crawl across the surface of a beating heart, delivering drugs or attaching medical devices.

The 20-millimeter-long robot -- called HeartLander -- has two suckers for feet, each pierced with 20 holes connected to a vacuum line, which holds it onto the outside of the heart. By moving its body segments it can crawl across the heart at up to seven inches per minute. Surgeons keep track of the device using X-ray video or a magnetic tracker, controlling the movements via a joystick.

"HeartLander can reach all parts of the heart's surface," Riviere said. And because it's stationary relative to the heart's surface, there is no need to interfere with the organ's movement.

The researchers are now working on adding a radio-frequency probe to treat arrhythmias by selectively killing malfunctioning heart tissue. They also plan to add a camera.

The research is described in New Scientist magazine.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Mice study shows efficacy of new gene therapy approach for toxin exposures

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new multi-bit 'spin' for MRAM storage

Jul 22, 2014

Interest in magnetic random access memory (MRAM) is escalating, thanks to demand for fast, low-cost, nonvolatile, low-consumption, secure memory devices. MRAM, which relies on manipulating the magnetization ...

Move over, silicon, there's a new circuit in town

Jun 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —When it comes to electronics, silicon will now have to share the spotlight. In a paper recently published in Nature Communications, researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering descri ...

Long-range tunneling of quantum particles

Jun 12, 2014

The quantum tunnel effect manifests itself in a multitude of well-known phenomena. Experimental physicists in Innsbruck, Austria, have now directly observed quantum particles transmitting through a whole ...

Recommended for you

How Alzheimer's peptides shut down cellular powerhouses

Aug 29, 2014

The failing in the work of nerve cells: An international team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Chris Meisinger from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Freiburg has discovered ...

User comments : 0