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Needle phobia all boils down to “Needles? No thank you!” This seemingly innocuous fear makes many things in life quite difficult. Drawing blood, injections…sewing…are just some of the things that become very problematic. Needle(ss) to say, science fiction has been ripe with alternative injection systems, the most famous is probably the hypospray from Star Trek. While needle-free injections have existed for a while now, a Japanese research team is ready to release their invention into the world, a new kind of needle-free injection that works on the magic of bubbles and is pain FREE!

Bubbles are fun! Who doesn’t like bubbles? If you need to distract some kids for a while, a nice simple solution involves a plastic ring, some soapy water and voila, you’ve got something that will keep their attention.

needle 4Image: Flickr (Tim)

However, air bubbles have always presented a real concern for injections in general. How many times have you heard the words “air embolism” and worried about your next vaccination? This time, a research team from Shibaura Technical College in Japan is harnessing the destructive force of “micro air bubbles” to make a tiny incision into biological tissue and deliver the goods. We are talking really tiny, with the perforation point about 4μm (4 microns=4 x 10−6 meters) wide.

Diagram of the injector. 

needle 1Image: RBB Today

These microbubbles are then charged with a voltage and fired at a high speed that allows them to penetrate the cells and deliver the medicine. The science is complicated, but all you need to know is that there is no pain and the meds can be injected at precisely the right spot.

Makes a bubble, then…POP goes the weasel. Yeah, Science!

needle 2Image: RBB Today

Many of us don’t expect science fiction gadgets to suddenly appear in our everyday lives, so it’s no surprise that an entirely pain and needle-free injection system is bringing out some skeptics in the Japanese net community. “But it looks like it hurts!” and “Even with no needle, it looks painful. Might be my imagination though,” are just some of the comments being tossed around.

▼ Looks like random bits and pieces put together, actually a needleless injector. 

needle 3Image: RBB Today

Are we going to see this system in widespread use soon? It’s hard to say, but when this product reaches mass market saturation, you can say “bai bai” to those awful days at the doctor. Finally, those who fear needles will have no reason to avoid any vaccinations that they need. Now if they can only figure out the technology to extract blood without any needles.

Source: My Game News Flash via RBB Today
Featured Image: Flickr (Rubén Díaz)