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MIT Scientists Invent Needleless Injections, Next, Drill-less Fillings

Needle-phobics rejoice! A team at MIT has developed new technology that can administer injections without the need to pierce the skin with a tiny sharp object. Which left me with only two questions:

Does it involve accelerating substances to the speed of sound?

Does it involve shooting things into my eyes?

The answer to these questions are, joyfully, “yes,” and “yes.”

Unlike a lot of the weird science we cover here, developing needleless injections is actually a serious concern of medicine. Needles are delicate, are rendered unsanitary after one use, and can only administer liquids. And even aside from how common it is for medical practitioners to injure themselves with one of them, fear of needles contributes to patient unwillingness to submit to or administer their own treatment. Other needle-absent models for injection were created in the 1950s for mass vaccinations, and needle free flu shots have been available at pharmacies for a while now.

MIT’s solution, however, is far more precise, able to administer drugs at different depths and different doses, making it usable for a much wider range of treatments and diseases. How does it work?

It shoots a tiny jet of medicine through your skin at up to the speed of sound.

So that’s both terrifying and awesome. Professor Ian Hunter and doctor Kathy Hogan explain.

The device can also shoot medicines through the tympanic membrane of the ear, and the surface of the eye.

I will be over here blinking, and blinking, and blinking, forever, now.

(Mashable via Skepchick.)

(Yes, the bit about fillings was an exaggeration.)

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  • Sharmie Taffe-Fletcher

    …the jet injector has existed since the 60s. have they found a way to keep it from transferring diseases?

  • Sharmie Taffe-Fletcher

    erm, or the 50s according to you guys… heh.

  • Kifre

    Moustache. O_O

  • Anonymous

    and it hurts more than a needle

  • Emma Jones


  • Sarah Jayne

    So… it’s a hypospray, like on Star Trek? Has Star Trek once again predicted/influenced the future?

  • ShifterCat

    I, too, was hoping for something more like the hypospray.

  • Anonymous

    They said it hurts the same as a mosquito bite. I waited impatiently for the man in the video to give it a pain rating. 

  • Anonymous

    I heard that it was worse than needle. Although Pain is really subjective.

  • Sheila

    Yeah, I don’t think some of these doctors have ever actually been bitten by mosquitoes. I had a doc tell me that the IV they were inserting into the top of my hand would “feel like a little mosquito bite” and let me tell you, that crap HURTS!! I don’t cry often (at least not from physical pain) and that made my eyes well up. It HURT. Mosquito, my foot.

  • Anonymous

    He meant a mosquito with nasty, big, pointy teeth! (of course)

  • Daniella Hernandez

    Maybe “like a little horse-fly bite” would be more accurate. :p

  • relmneiko

    yeah ikr. needles don’t hurt in the slightest, imo, it’s just the anticipation of pain that gets you. Once needles become routine you realize they don’t hurt worth balls. If you spend an extended period of time in the hospital/have diabetes or sth you realize that quickly.

  • Emily Hill

    I think I rather the old fashion way atleast I don’t risk blindness or deafness with a prick to the arm

  • Zharre

    Not for everyone.

    I have to have blood drawn for testing every 3 months minimum, have had to for approximately 5 years now, and it ALWAYS hurts. Plus, for the past 4 years I’ve had to give myself a daily injection, and in some locations (I have to vary them) it varies from ‘mildly’ to ‘seriously’ painful, while in others it’s virtually pain-free.

    So… yes, it’s routine. And it’s routinely painful.