The heart is sometimes in a weakened state when recovering from certain diseases or while waiting for a transplant. To help the tired heart pump blood, researchers at EPFL’s Integrated Actuators Laboratory (LAI) came up with a clever solution. Their device is made up of three tiny rings made out of a material with special electrical properties. The device, called a Dielectric Electro Active polymer (DEAP), dilates when a current is applied and contracts when it is switched off. Because the reactions are immediate, the back-and-forth movement can be controlled in real time.