MIT Develops Amazing Star Trek-like Hypodermic Needle Alternative

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May 25 2012 2:31 PM

MIT Develops Amazing Star Trek-like Hypodermic Needle Alternative

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MIT scientists have created an alternative to the hypodermic needle, called the Lorentz Force Actuator, that uses a supersonic jet stream to inject.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Does even the sight of someone getting the needle make you squirm? All those with the hypodermic heebee-jeebees will be happy to hear that scientists at MIT have developed a new drug injection system that uses a near-supersonic jet stream instead of a needle.

This new needleless needle uses a device known as a Lorentz Force Actuator, a strong magnet and wire coil that fires a tiny piston at high speed when current is applied to the coil. The delivery system has remarkable control over the fluid it is injecting, allowing variable-speed delivery, ultra-accurate dosages, and even the injection of solids into the body.

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The biggest upside? It's painless, making a hole no larger than a mosquito does that heals up in a day. Still in prototype, and quite costly, the new device still shows a promising future. And, yes, Trekkies, it does sound a whole lot like the hypospray.

Video produced by Paca Thomas.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.