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Exploring a New Frontier of Cyber-Physical Systems: The Human Body

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Simulations of complex spatial patterns indicative of cardiac arrhythmic disorders, including spiral waves and spiral wave breakup.

The U.S. National Science Foundation has announced $8.75 million in grants to programs developing medical and cyber-physical systems.

Credit: CMACS group

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced two five-year, center-scale awards with a total value of $8.75 million that will go to a pair of programs developing state-of-the-art medical and cyber-physical systems (CPS).

The first program is a collaboration between computer scientists, roboticists, and biologists from Boston University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to design systems combining the capabilities of nano-scale robots with designed synthetic organisms. The researchers believe this hybrid "bio-CPS" technology will be capable of many previously impossible functions, such as microscopic assembly and cell sensing within the body. As a demonstration, the researchers plan to develop teams of synthesized cell/microbot hybrids that can construct complex, fabric-like surfaces.

The other grant will go to a multi-center project developing what it calls the "Cyberheart" platform, for testing and validating medical devices faster and at lower cost than current methods. The team also will collaborate with experimentalists who will study the behavior of both virtual and actual devices on animals' hearts.

NSF has invested about $40 million to support CPS research in 2015 and $250 million since 2008.

From National Science Foundation
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