HeartLander Robotic Device Crawls Onto Your Heart

HeartLander is a tiny robotic device developed at Carnegie Mellon that can provide minimally invasive therapy to the surface of your beating heart.


(Percutaneous Subxiphoid Access to the Epicardium
Using a Miniature Crawling Robotic Device
[pdf])

(a) Surgical view of the porcine trial. A 15 x 5 mm port was inserted through subxiphoid approach. A small incision was made in the pericardium and suspended open with sutures. Locomotion was visualized by a thoracoscope inserted from the left thoracic wall (arrow).
(b, c) The view from the thoracoscopic camera inserted from the left thoracic wall (b) and intrapericardium
(c). The HeartLander is seen through the pericardium (b). The solid line arrow shows the front body, while the broken line arrow shows the rear body. H, anterior ventricular wall of the heart; P, pericardium.
(d) A picture of the excised heart with the HeartLander. There was no injury on the surface of the heart due to the HeartLander locomotion. (White scale bar: 20 mm)

The HeartLander robotic device has three basic phases of movement that allow it to crawl slowly along:


(HeartLander movement: extend, retract, turning phases [pdf])

This inch-long robot is a very practical alternative to the somewhat more involved science fictional process outlined in the film Fantastic Voyage; get a small submarine, shrink it and the crew down to microscopic size (along with the needle to inject it into the bloodstream), etc.


(Fantastic Voyage submarine)

Via The HeartLander, a Bug for the Heart.

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