Nanotube fibers were originally developed to replace electrical wires in commercial airplanes. But since they’re soft as well as highly conductive, they can deliver the kind of electrical signals that tells a heart when to contract and relax.
According to the researchers, carbon nanofibers end up being mechanically “very similar to a suture.” Metal wires, like those that currently power devices like pacemakers, can prompt human bodies to create scar tissue over time.
As of now, researchers are testing the fibers’ biocompatibility, but the human trial process should begin in the next few years. One possibility is that nanotechnology could cause a “paradigm shift” in treatment for sudden cardiac death.