Atomic Heart

But, you might be asking yourself, "What in the hell was anyone even thinking trying to stick a radioisotope generator into a human being's chest cavity?"

Fair question. If you take the goal for an artificial heart to be the true replacement of the human heart in perpetuity, then power becomes a primary concern, trumping all other engineering constraints. When contractors like Westinghouse Electric and McDonnell-Douglas offered bids for the government work, they made sure to note the atomic solution as the only possibility.

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5 Responses:

  1. moof says:

    Given the success of nuclear-powered pacemakers, not that surprising.

  2. thielges says:

    ... Mother!

    Obviously a chest nuke is superior to a stinky piston engine so why not? Keep an open mind dammit.

  3. Jim Sweeney says:

    Iron Man did it better.

  4. gryazi says:

    Sometime in the '00s I remember there being a bit of a breakthrough with like a microscopic Stirling engine (remember when those were the hotness because .. Segways?) and a speck of a source way smaller than what you'd deal with in a smoke detector, but apparently it came to nothing for normal applications because radiation is scary and chemical batteries were rapidly approaching 'likely to last until device obsolescence' for those kind of low-power applications.

  5. Asm says:

    Well, the advantage of a RTG-powered heart is that no-one can accuse you of being cold-hearted anymore.

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