Soft robot' designed to pump failing hearts
Each year, more than 2,000 people in the United States receive heart transplants, and a staggering 5.7 million experience heart failure. Heart failure occurs when either of the heart's ventricles can no longer fulfill their duty of pumping blood around the body.

The waiting list for heart transplants is long, and many people die before a donor is found. Designing ways to extend lives while patients wait for a new organ is therefore a priority. Currently, ventricular assist devices (VADs) can be used to improve the health of patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting a transplant. However, they are not ideal.