Innovators are full of questions.Nature has answers.


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Mosquito inspired microneedle

Mosquito bite inspires less painful injection

Inspiring Strategies

Product or process
Japanese microengineers created a minute needle just one millimetre long and
with a diameter of 0.1 millimetres. They etched slices of silicon dioxide into a
jagged shape and bonded them together. There are two serrated shanks that form the outer surface of the needle. A central shaft then slides between them to inject or withdraw the sample. The needle is connected to a small reservoir that is equipped with an optical sensor to analyze samples.
Challenges solved
Reduced pain for injecting or drawing blood samples. Small biomedical devices,
for instance used in diabetic patients to monitor blood-glucose levels.
Differences from existing products
Current needles are relatively smooth cylinders that present large amounts of
surface area to nerves, causing pain to the human subject.
The biomimicry story
A mosquito's initial bite is actually quite painless. The highly serrated proboscis
touches the nerves of the skin at fewer points than a smooth surface like a
needle. Much less contact area translates into much less pain. These seven moving parts consist of various serrated outer segments (maxillae) and a smooth  inner shaft (labrum).

Reference Article:
Izumi H, Suzuki M, Aoyagi S, Kanzaki T. 2011. Realistic imitation of mosquito's proboscis: Electrochemically etched sharp and jagged needles and the cooperative inserting motion. Sensor Actuat A:Phys. 100(1): 115-123.

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over 5 years ago
Why didn't man think of this a long time ago - we could be all the better for it!
I can't believe this just evolved. Surely such intricacy is by design!
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About the Product

Company: Kansai University in Osaka, Japan (Seiji Aoyagi)

Product Phase: Under development

Product Type: Medical injection device