High-Tech Hearts

Sick of all the little red hearts? Try these less nauseating, cutting-edge alternatives

Alright, so it’s Valentine’s Day. Maybe you care, maybe you don’t, maybe the whole idea makes your blood boil. Given the sensitive nature of the topic, the safest approach is clearly to talk about robots. Robots with hearts, humans with artificial hearts, and…a humano-robo wedding?  Here we go!

Alright, so it’s Valentine’s Day. Maybe you care, maybe you don’t, maybe the whole idea makes your blood boil. Given the sensitive nature of the topic, the safest approach is clearly to talk about robots. Robots with hearts, humans with artificial hearts, and…a humano-robo wedding?  Here we go!

 
(Flickr / ImNotQuiteJack)

There might not be much you can do for a broken heart, but, luckily, there is more and more that can be done for patients in need of a new one. In 1967, the first successful transplant of a human heart was a much-celebrated achievement. This past year, one of the most significant scientific advances was the first-ever transplant of an autonomous, fully artificial heart. Read more about it, along with other great science moments of 2013, in:

Building a mini-brain and the discovery of water on exoplanets

 

Humans are not the only ones to receive artificial hearts. Rex is a robot who moved into London’s Science Museum about a year ago, with a full set of technological organs, including a heart pumping “blood” throughout his circulatory system.

If aren’t ready to go full-on artificial with your heart remedies, researchers are also working on engineering cardiac tissue from a mix of high-tech materials and living cells. Both Rex and this hybrid material mimicking natural heart tissue help answer the question:

Man Augmented: Is technology finally fusing with the body?

 

As surprising as some of these steps towards our possible bionic future may seem, let’s be frank: Marrying a robot is still a good deal more startling. But even that has already happened, New Scientist reports. Reflecting on the bonds that could form in such a human-robot union, the author asks if love could truly be possible. “‘That will come in about 40 years' time, with improvements in speech recognition and generation technology,’ says David Levy, AI researcher”.

 

You heard the man, the countdown is on! T-minus 40 years until we start overinterpreting every text our robot sends, and waiting three days to respond.

A happy robotic Valentine’s Day and a good weekend to all.

The MyScienceWork Team