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Heart in your hands

Hands-on at the exhibit

  • Hold a soft robotic heart in your hands that beats in time with your own heart, and discover its surprising biomechanical function. A unique collaboration with robotic art and design studio Rusty Squid, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious scheme.
  • Use a 3D printed heart controller to drive computational simulations of heart function and learn how to put a pacemaker in its correct place
  • Compare 3D printed models of a range of different hearts and see how magnetic resonance imaging can be used to understand their unique function

Find out more

Heart conditions can have a sudden and devastating impact, and can affect anyone at any time, regardless of their age or fitness. Many of these conditions are a result of faulty genes that affect the heart’s function. One of these is heart failure, which affects over half a million people in the UK and can be caused by a number of factors, including high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and heart attack. Understanding how the heart works and what goes wrong in heart conditions is vital to keep the heart healthy and to help doctors diagnose and effectively treat their patients.

Our research at King’s College London uses a variety of different methods for investigating the heart. Our team of scientists, doctors, physicists, computer programmers and engineers focus on understanding how the heart works, and we produce computer models and innovative imaging methods to better understand this amazing organ. These tools and techniques can be used to develop personalised treatments for people with heart failure.

Computer models, developed using British Heart Foundation funding, can be used to simulate the heart and understand how physics drives it to beat and move blood throughout the body. Solving fundamental mathematical equations, computer models can help us predict how effective different treatments will be for someone with heart failure. For example, it can help surgeons decide where a pacemaker should be fitted or how a surgeon should place an artificial heart valve.

Our researchers are also developing new techniques that doctors can use to image the heart using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These techniques allow doctors to peer inside the body and observe the heart’s shape, size and movement, and how the blood moves through its chambers. With these new imaging techniques, we are designing computer programmes that help doctors diagnose and treat problems inside our bodies that would otherwise be hard to see.  

Come along to our stand and learn about how we are developing new ways to treat people with heart failure!

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