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Researchers 3D Print a Soft Artificial Heart That Works Like a Real One & Weighs 390 Grams

ETH researchers from the Functional Materials Laboratory have developed a silicone heart that beats almost like a human heart. In collaboration with colleagues from the Product Development Group Zurich, they have tested how well it works.a soft artificial heart made of silicone that beats almost like a human heart.

source/image: ETH Zürich

The silicone heart was manufactured using a 3D printer and weighs 390 grams. Right now these mechanical pumps are used while people recover from heart failure or wait for a donated heart to become available.

source/image: ETH Zürich

With each silicone heart only lasting for around 3,000 beats, the strength of the material and the performance of the heart need to be significantly increased – but having a soft, 3D-printed heart beating like a human one is a fantastic start.


It looks like a real heart. And this is the goal of the first entirely soft artificial heart: to mimic its natural model as closely as possible. The silicone heart has been developed by Nicholas Cohrs, a doctoral student in the group led by Wendelin Stark, Professor of Functional Materials Engineering at ETH Zurich.

The reasoning why nature should be used as a model is clear. Currently used blood pumps have many disadvantages: their mechanical parts are susceptible to complications while the patient lacks a physiological pulse, which is assumed to have some consequences for the patient.