Best Inventions: The AbioCor Artificial Heart

Inventions come in all shapes and sizes. Some are as simple as purple catsup. Others push the limits of quantum physics. The real measure of an invention is not just how well it works or how impressively it is engineered, but how it changes our lives.

To gauge the impact of the AbioCor artificial heart, you don't have to look much further than Robert Tools. The 59-year-old grandfather and retired technical librarian had suffered from congestive heart failure for two years; by last June he was getting ready to die. His liver and kidneys had nearly quit, and he could hardly...

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