Heart Devices -- Research

making life better

The Devices

Heart Assist Pump
Artificial Heart
Clinical Trial
PSU Heart News

Teaching, Research, Service


Press Information


A review of some of the research underway in bioengineering appeared in the Spring issue of Penn State Engineering.

A brief review of how man and machine compatibility is tackled in medical equipment from heart devices to kidney dialysis machines was also in the Spring issue of Penn State Engineering.


Many different types of materials are used in the development and testing of heart devices. These range from metals to plastics to carbon compounds. Penn State is one of the foremost universities in the study and development of new materials, and this expertise is often used in the development of new biomaterials and materials for biological devices.

One area of recent work is that of biomedical polymers. Similar polymers are currently used in the blood sac or pumping chamber, compliance chamber and cannula of the Arrowheart left ventricular assist system and in some total artifical hearts.

Another area, also in polymers, explores materials that move with an electrical current. These organic composites that change shape under an electric voltage may open the door for the manufacture of artificial muscles, smart skins, capacitors, and tiny drug pumps.

Pharmaceutical Tools

Virtual Stomach

Penn State mechanical engineers, working with medical and pharmaceutical researchers, have developed the first computer-generated "virtual stomach" to follow the path of extended-release tablets that are designed to remain in the stomach for hours while slowly releasing medicine.

Clinical Applications

Mini Surgical Tools

Penn State engineers have developed new design software and are using it, in cooperation with surgeons from the University's College of Medicine, to develop new multi-task surgical tools that look like tiny jaws but will be able to bend around obstructions.

Ultrasound Insulin Patch

Penn State engineers have developed a prototype for an ultrasound insulin delivery system that is about the size and weight of a matchbook that can be worn as a patch on the body.

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