Invention has always meant changes for us all. Ever since two stones were struck against one another and the simplest flint mapping came about, we have been a species designed to change with our environment – one we shape with our own tools. And yet throughout it all our hearts have been beating like drums to report to the world, “Yes. We are human and we are alive.” But a recent invention, one that may be in many of our bodies performing a life sustaining task may change all that. We may one day soon be surrounded by people who are alive, but have no pulse.
The heart has been a constant through mankind’s evolution for millions of years. And yet this very vital organ would soon prove to be mankind’s biggest cause of death when cures for the diseases that once threatened major populations developed. There was still at this point no cure for the failure of the heart. The invention of the artificial heart will provide a reliable mechanism to pump blood through the body without the rhythmic beat of the heart itself.
The developer, Dr. William Cohn discovered the rhythm less heart and likens it to other inventions that don’t always mimic nature perfectly. Much like fixed wing aircraft over birds flapping their wings, the artificial heart takes a known premise of nature and moves it in an entirely new direction. The heart is one of the first inventions to actually take apart the old notion that the body can only work the way evolution developed it to. The beat, according to Cohn is incidental and not necessary to the proper health of the patient.
The heart isn’t an artificial machine that a patient can be hooked up to just to keep alive while in the hospital, it is an actual device that remains in the human body until either a human heart becomes available. In the future, similar artificial hearts may be used indefinitely giving a person a full lifetime without a pulse. How significantly will our lives be impacted by the sudden appearance of heartless individuals? According to scientists, not very much. Unfortunately there are still many bugs to work out in the system, but an artificial heart that utilizes fans and rotors to propel blood through the body instead of an expanding and contracting chambered artificial heart may in fact be the preferred alternative due to its relatively simple and reliable design and the ease of making the device itself.
And if the heart is able to last indefinitely, it may be yet another step closer to a long life ultimately leading toward the promise of immortality. Whether we ever actually achieve immortality in the physical sense is unknown, but technologies such as these are slowly making this a possibility. And if not true immortality, then at least they offer a much longer and healthier life – even if it is one without a pulse.