The Continued Quest for Pain-Free Microneedles

Produced through a process of 3D printing with polymers—altogether referred to as “4D printing” because of its core of programmable, shape-shifting material—rapidly developing microneedles may replace painful hypodermic needles in the next decade. Professor Howon Lee, who has lead the research from Rutgers University, has filed a patent on this new technology, which produces hollow needles that are barbed, much like the stinger of a bee. They can pierce skin, anchor in and stay put during delivery of medicine or retrieval of blood—without causing pain. A patch composed of several microneedles could be worn to administer larger doses of medicine—though this particular idea isn’t new (it first piqued interest outside the scientific community, for use with vaccines, in 2015). Read more at Fast Company.