The Loh Down On Science

Ouchless Needle

A new technology takes the bite out of shots.

A painless new shot that really BITES?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science

and on your NEW friend, the humble mosquito.

A female mosquito uses suction to draw blood. Once she's got her sticker into you, she flexes and relaxes muscles in her proboscis to create negative pressure. That sucks blood out of your arm, into her mouth.

Surprisingly, the process itself is painless. But while she's getting her drink on, Madame Mosquito injects her saliva, which contains an anticoagulant. THAT'S what itches.

Now, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology and Japan's Tokai University are turning mosquito bites into medical benefit.

Their new titanium microneedle is just sixty millionths of a meter around, about the size of a mosquito's snout. It mimics the sucking action of a mosquito, using an micro-electro-mechanical pump. Needle goes in, pump starts up, blood's sucked out. It's virtually ouchless.

The device can be used for drawing blood, drug injection and other medical needs.

Best of all, it comes with a tiny can of 'Off'--for when you just can't take those nurses giving you another shot anymore! No, but-- it should!


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