Inaugurated on 27 June 2018 in the presence of Jean-Nathanaël Karakash, Neuchâtel State Councilor for the Economy and Social Action, and Martin Vetterli, President of EPFL, the new Center for Artificial Muscles will initially work on a less invasive cardiac assistance system for treating heart failure.

Following the announcement of a 12-million-franc donation by the Swiss-based Werner Siemens-Foundation last December, the Center for Artificial Muscles was inaugurated this week on EPFL's Microcity campus in Neuchâtel. Three projects are already in the pipeline. The first one, which will be spread out over the next four years, will focus on developing an innovative cardiac assistance system for treating heart failure. The goal of the second project is to create an artificial sphincter using the new minimally invasive cardiac assistance technology, while the third project will delve into the reconstruction of facial muscles.

A cross-university collaboration

In order to develop the prosthetic device, the ten researchers of EPFL’s Integrated Actuators Laboratory (LAI) will work closely with Thierry Carrel, a renowned cardiac surgeon and the chairman and head surgeon of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Bern's Inselspital. Dr. Carrel's research group at the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research and the experimental surgery section of the Department for BioMedical Research at the University of Bern will also make a significant contribution to the project.

A world first

The new technology will be less invasive than current cardiac assistance systems because it will not interfere directly with the blood flow or blood cells. The rings placed around the aorta will help the heart pump blood through magnetic induction.