The New Scientist is reporting that Japanese researchers at Kansai University in Osaka mimicked the structure of mosquito’s proboscis to create a group of silicon needles that are activated by piezo-ceramic actuators. The goal is to create a less painful solution to blood sampling than current smooth needles provide.
From the study abstract in journal Sensors and Actuators A: Physical:
Aiming at the use in low-invasive medical treatments, this paper proposes a realistic imitation of mosquito’s proboscis. A silicon needle is electrochemically etched, making the three-dimensionally sharp tip with finely smooth surface. The jagged shank shape is machined by a deep reactive ion etching (DRIE). The combined needles comprising a central straight needle and two outer jagged needles are fabricated, imitating a labrum and two maxillas of the mosquito, respectively. The cooperative motion of the three needles imitating the mosquito’s motion is realized by applying PZT actuators independently to all the needles. The effectiveness of inserting these needles cooperatively was experimentally confirmed. Considering practical medical application, a biodegradable polymer needle with three-dimensionally sharp tip is also developed. The fabrication process based on micromolding is as follows: a nickel negative cavity is made by electroplating on a silicon sharp needle, to which melted polymer is injected, and it is finally released using a lost molding technique. The effectiveness of sharp tip for easy insertion was experimentally proven.
More from New Scientist…
Abstract in Sensors and Actuators A: Physical: Realistic imitation of mosquito’s proboscis: Electrochemically etched sharp and jagged needles and their cooperative inserting motion
Image credit: Tice Lerner…
(hat tip: Scope)