Scientists at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK have created a bio-actuator that can beat like a heart using 3D printed parts. The video of the artificial heart above is courtesy of New Scientist.
The biologically driven actuator is a proof-of-concept “artificial heartbeat” that they hope may be used in the future for bio-robotic art and design.
The “heart” works by utilizing the pneumatic pressure generated by the action of yeast causing the diaphragm to move. A specially designed control valve controls the movement of this diaphragm, which when full distended opens the relief valve, releasing the pressure and resetting the actuator for the next cycle.
The solid parts of the bio-actuator were created uses photopolymer jetting from Objet, where liquid photopolymer resin is 3D printed and cured by a UV light source. A 3D printer also created the molds that were used to make the silicone diaphragm.
Scientists working on this project foresee their bio-actuator being used in various applications from energy autonomous robotics and artificial life to artworks.