Mosquito Needles

Diabetics and trypanophobics around the world can unite with a new scientific discovery that eliminates the pain of having an injection. Scientists in India and Japan have invented a micro-needle that is 15 x smaller than conventional needles. It has diameter of 60 microns, compared to 900 microns for regular hypodermic devices. The new needle mimics the way a female mosquito sucks blood. [Male mosquitos don’t suck blood, but live off nectar; the female uses the protein in blood to produce eggs]. The female  flexes and relaxes certain muscles in its proboscis to create suction that draws blood into its mouthparts.

The new biocompatible microneedle, designed by Suman Chakraborty of the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur and Kazuyoshi Tsuchiya of Tokai University in Kanagawa is based on the same principle.

In this case, the sucking action is provided by a microelectromechanical pump, which works using a piezoelectric actuator attached to the needle.

Made of titanium, the new invention is long enough to reach 3 mm deep into human skin, which is the depth needed to reach superficial capillaries. It could be used to draw blood, inject drugs, and as a glucose-level monitor for diabetics.