One in five Dutch people appears to be afraid of needles. For these people, a solution comes close through an invention by the second finalist of the Prins Friso Engineering Prize. A research team led by Cuban Dr. Ir. David Fernandez Rivas has found a solution for injecting without a needle. The device with which it works looks seemingly simple, but the theory behind it is a bit more complicated. Simply explained, the device heats up the liquid with a laser, creating a vapor bubble that ejects the rest of the liquid in tiny droplets. At a speed of 300 kilometers per hour, the droplets of medicine liquid are fired and pass right through the surface of the skin. The only thing that is felt is a mosquito bite.
In addition to the benefit for the patient, it also has advantages in the environmental field. “A lot of packaging, plastic syringes and metal needles are now being thrown away. That is a shame and with this method the impact on the environment is much smaller,” says Rivas. “In addition, metal needles are dangerous because staff can prick themselves and become contaminated by, for example, blood from patients”.
The device is still under development and cannot yet be used for vaccination against corona. “But we do expect to be able to treat medical tattoos within a year,” says Rivas. Think of pigmentation spots and scars. “The great thing about this technique is that the skin is much less damaged than with traditional tattooing,” says Rivas.
Rivas believes it will take another three to five years to inject vaccines, insulin or other medicines. “A lot of additional research is still needed for this. We as the UT cannot do this alone and for that we have to look for cooperation”, says Rivas.
This nomination gives me a helping hand to keep working on the project
“I think the nomination is fantastic. I not only see myself as the winner of the prize, but also think of my colleagues and students who helped me. And I also think of my study years in Cuba and for my family there it is a great prize” , Rivas says.
“This nomination is also a great way for me to see how people react to this development. We receive messages via email or social media and that gives me a helping hand to continue working on this project”, says Rivas. . A patent has now also been applied for and he is working on a start-up together with the UT.
The Prince Johan Friso Engineering Award also has a public award. You can vote until March 15 via this link.
The Prins Friso Engineering Prize is a Dutch award that is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of Engineers (KIVI) to an engineer who distinguishes himself in expertise, innovative capacity, social impact and entrepreneurship. The prize, which is named after Friso van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg, was awarded for the first time in 2015. The Prins Friso Engineering Prize is considered the most prestigious Dutch prize for engineers. In addition, the winner can call himself “Engineer of the Year” for a year. Traditionally, Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel are present at the award ceremony. Due to corona, the award ceremony is online and the princesses will be digitally present.