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MIT Scientists Invent Needleless Injections, Next, Drill-less Fillings
by Susana Polo | 2:03 pm, May 30th, 2012
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.
(Yes, the bit about fillings was an exaggeration.)