MIT Researchers Create Star Trek-Style Needleless Injections

UPDATED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 19:15
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Thursday, May 31, 2012 6:55 AM


Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


At last, Trekkies and Trypanophobes have something in common. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have pulled a page from Star Trek‘s book and have developed a technique for giving shots without a needle, much like the injections Dr. McCoy delivered on the starship Enterprise.

MIT scientists, led by Professor Ian Hunter, have figured out a way to inject medicine using a high-pressure jet to deliver specific amounts of medicine to variable depths beneath the skin, reports the Daily Mail. It’s a step up from existing needleless transdermal devices, such as nicotine patches, which are limited to medicinal doses tiny enough to be delivered via the skin’s pores. This means that the new needleless injections can be used on individuals of all ages and with a variety of doses and medications.

The specifics of the design only make the device sound more like something out of science fiction. The injector is built around a Lorentz-force actuator — a small, powerful magnet surrounded by a coil of wire that’s attached to a piston. When the system is charged, it interacts with the magnetic field to produce a force that pushes the piston forward. This force ejects the drug at a pressure and velocity strong enough to get through skin, but supposedly feels no worse than a mosquito bite.

Inventors have made similar devices before, but this is the first version that can adjust for different depths and pressures, which means the injector could potentially be used on both babies and adults getting injections. For people living with diseases such as diabetes, that require frequent injections, the new delivery system could be a life changer. Catherine Hogan, a member of the research team at MIT , told the Daily Mail: “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.’

Needle-less injections aren’t the only Star Trek-inspired scientific development recently. The Monash Vision Group’s bionic eye project is crafting a seeing-eye device that looks a lot like the visor that Geordi LaForge wore in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now that the needleless-injection is a reality, can they start working on transporters? Or maybe Tribbles, assuming we figure out a way to get them spayed?


Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:36 AM


I have received a needle-less injection. I'd rather have had the needle. My left bicep was black and blue for a week. It was a pneumatic system and felt like a punch in the arm.


Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:26 AM


Freedom is Important because People are Important


I think this will be a great boon to diabetes patients especially. Which means my father, my wife, and maybe me and my son someday.


Note to Self:
Raptor - women who want to control their reproductive processes are sluts.
Wulf - Niki is a stupid fucking bitch who should hurry up and die.
Never forget what these men are.
“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” -Thomas Szasz


Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:48 AM


Keep the Shiny side up

I got most of my shots before shipping out to Vietnam using jet injectors, back in 1972. They were fast and sterile, and worked pretty well as long as you didn't flinch, in which case they could cut you a bit.

Seems like the breakthrough here is the quick ability to adjust dose and injection pressure.


Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:15 PM


Isn't that what sci-fi is about? Somebody imagines something that has never been done, or is done wrong or badly; and fantasizes a way to do it or improve it. And some geek gets inspired, and goes to his basement, or his corporate or government lab; and figures out a way to do it. Shots without needles, going to the moon, traveling under the ocean, going to the stars, thinking machines, robots, armagaddeon style weapons. Some here, some improved, some haven't arrived yet, but geeks and weirdos are working on them. And not, of course, all good.

The only trouble with the Firefly 'verse is its negative tone-- I can't figure out a positive outcome Joss was suggesting we should aim for.






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