New Injection System Dispenses Drugs Without Needles

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Needle Drop

Needle Drop by ZaldyImg, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Those of us with an aversion to needles may soon be able to overcome the stress of needle phobia.

A team of MIT researchers has developed a needleless injection system that can deliver a range of drug doses to variable depths through the skin, bringing an end to the need for painful injections.

The system is similar to a normal syringe but doesn’t have a needle plunger. Instead, it uses a Lorentz-force actuator, a small but powerful magnet surrounded by a coil of wire, that is attached to a piston inside the drug ampoule. When a current is turned on, it interacts with the magnet to produce a force that pushes the piston forward. This, in turn, ejects a drug embedded inside the capsule through an opening about as wide as a mosquito proboscis — the tiny spear-like mouth that penetrates your skin painlessly when the insect bites you.

The device can inject drugs at the speed of sound

The force and the depth of the injection can be controlled by altering the current applied to the coil. The pressures can also be adjusted to suit different skin types.