The heart is sometimes in a weakened state when recovering from certain diseases or while waiting for a transplant. EPFL researchers have developed a new cardiac support system in the form of a small ring placed on the aorta. This device is less invasive than traditional methods and avoids problems of hemolysis and the need for regular transfusions because it does not come into direct contact with the blood. The 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.