Soft Microneedles Set to Redefine Healthcare

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From stimulating the brain to delivering medication, this innovation is set to change healthcare significantly.

Medical technology keeps progressing and personalized medicine is making it easier than ever to track your health – with devices you can wear and use at home to test your heart rate or blood sugar levels. The only problem is that as convenient as these devices are, our bodies just don’t get along with them.

Hangbo Zhao is a researcher from the University of Southern California who is working on fixing this issue by designing new super flexible, bendy, and comfortable to wear sensors. His latest breakthrough invention is the tiny soft needles, which can be used to track your health for a long period of time without discomfort.

According to Interesting Engineering, microneedles are tiny tools used in important medical procedures like stimulating the brain and checking for signs of good health. The issue is that the ones being used today are stiff and don’t move well with the body. Zhao’s research is changing that by creating microneedles that can bend and stretch, moving along with the body of the wearer.

The research team came up with a special way to make microneedles – they combined methods like laser cutting, crafting tiny objects, and printing to create microneedles that can stretch significantly (from 60% to 90%) and can even be customized in appearance and functionality to suit various requirements.

While this finding opened doors for many different medical uses, the implications extend far beyond the laboratory. These microneedles can accurately track and diagnose various conditions, spanning from neuromuscular disorders to bladder functionality.

This discovery could empower both healthcare professionals and patients and give hope to those who worry about regular needles, offering a chance for healthcare that is not only precise and accurate, but also painless. It is a major step toward improving the way our bodies work with advanced monitoring devices.