MIT Engineers Create Device That Painlessly Injects Medicine at Nearly the Speed of Sound
MIT researchers, led by Ian Hunter, the George N. Hatsopoulos Professor of Mechanical Engineering, engineered this device which can inject drugs without the use of needles. The device can be programmed to deliver a range of doses to various depths. It delivers a tiny, high-pressure jet of medicine that breaches the skin at the speed of sound. The design is built around a mechanism called a Lorentz-force actuator - a small, powerful magnet surrounded by a coil of wire that's attached to a piston inside a drug ampoule. When current is applied, it interacts with the magnetic field to produce a force that pushes the piston forward, ejecting the drug at very high pressure and velocity out through the ampoule's nozzle, which is an opening as narrow as a mosquito's proboscis.
Catherine Hogan, a research scientist in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the research team, says, "If you are afraid of needles and have to frequently self-inject, compliance can be an issue. We think this kind of technology ... gets around some of the phobias that people may have about needles."