Does a heart need to beat? A fascinating lesson for SoC Realization teams from cutting-edge med tech.

Technological advances are where you find them and this article on the ABC News site really caught my eye. The article describes how Dr Billy Cohn and Dr O.H. “Bud” Frazier at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston have developed a “beatless” heart using two axial-flow ventricular assist devices to replace—not assist—both sides of the human heart. The result is a “beatless” continuous blood flow.

Can such a thing work? Can the human body adjust to continuous blood flow rather than “pulsitating” blood delivery? Apparently the answer is “Yes.” The twin-turbine artificial heart has been tested on calves and now on a human. It does indeed work, much better than you might expect.

So what are the advantages? There are many. The ABC News article quotes Cohn, “”Every animal created has a pulsitile heart, and to mimic that was the natural way to proceed. But to make something that actually can beat 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year, a man-made device has to perform with that kind of endurance.” The beatless artificial heart is self-contained, smaller and a more durable device said Cohn.

The article also quotes Dr. Abel DeAnda, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City who says: The dual rotors make the beatless heart “less mechanical with fewer parts that can fail. These artificial hearts will be more efficient and less costly and more successful devices.”

How does all of this possibly affect EDA and SoC Realization? I see a direct connection. Many Realization teams still attack design problems as though this were the 1990s. They ignore the fact that they can essentially use as many on-chip processors as they like. They also tend to hook up far too many blocks using bus architectures that trace their roots back to the 1970s. In essence, far too many SoC Realization teams are still designing “pulsitating” hearts because that is their natural inclination.

Time to get real. Time to assess the real impact of MPSoCs, IP subsystems, 28nm and 20nm process technology, and the promise of 3D chip assembly. If you don’t, rest assured that some competitor of yours, somewhere on this planet, will.

About sleibson2

EDA360 Evangelist and Marketing Director at Cadence Design Systems (blog at
This entry was posted in EDA360, Silicon Realization, SoC Realization, System Realization. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Does a heart need to beat? A fascinating lesson for SoC Realization teams from cutting-edge med tech.

  1. 1 – [Headsmack!] Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? (Hopefully they’ve worked out the issues with such pumps where their is the potential for damaging the blood itself.)

    2 – There is another analogy here: early, experimental flying machines were patterned after birds, complete with feathers in some cases. A 777, however, …

    3 – Not only can designers “use as many on-chip processors as they like”, with the cloud the number of off-chip processors is effectively infinite as well …

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