A human heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute, when the body is at rest. But unless one chooses to pay heed to that beat, it passes unnoticed. However, with this video tour of the heart, (above, via Fast Co. Design) that beat becomes a biological marvel. Researchers from the University of Tokyo and RIKEN developed the simulation as a way to model the heart’s movements.
Mark Wilson writes for Fast Co. Design:
To build the model, researchers simulated muscle contractions, using a supercomputer to calculate the motion of contracting proteins down to the molecular level. The blood flowing through the heart reacts dynamically to the muscle tissue's flex. By combining all these elements into a full simulation, scientists can see which parts of the heart are consuming the most energy.
The simulation peels away the layers of the heart and tours viewers though the ventricles and atrium as they pulse. The research team also modeled how the heart’s valves flutter, how blood rushes and swirls inside the chambers, and how muscle fibers twitch.
The project is more than a cool and informative video. All the computations and data pouring into the model can be manipulated by a researcher to explore exactly how the heart works. Already the simulation has helped researchers work on finding effective treatments for heart disease, a press release from RIKEN claims.