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Yorick the Interactive Skeleton

This plastic skeleton features a wide range of implantable devices. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) engineers who began to assemble the figure in the 1970s nicknamed it Yorick (after the jester’s skull encountered by Shakespeare’s Hamlet). The figure contains working hardware sent to the FDA for safety testing over the last three decades.

With this interactive feature, you can explore a wide range of similar implantable devices housed in the Division of Medicine and Science at the National Museum of American History.

Photograph of Yorick skeleton

Yorick Skeleton


Mending Broken Hearts

Mending Broken Hearts was a public program presented by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center in October 2004. The program content and format encouraged the audience to explore how advances in artificial hearts and cardiac assist devices are changing our lives.

This program has now been adapted for use as an online and classroom activity. You and your students are invited to read or listen to the presentations of our panel of experts, engage in classroom discussion, and take our opinion poll.

Photograph of AbioCor Total Artificial Heart

Mending Broken Hearts

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