How often do we get to say something good about mosquitoes? Hard to imagine that we ever can isn’t it? But luckily scientists are smart enough to know there are things to be learned in every part of nature.
At Ohio State University, Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Howard D. Winbigler, Professor of mechanical engineering, decided that the mosquito was the perfect study for how to create a microneedle that was virtually painless when inserted in human skin. Think about it. Mosquitoes have been drawing blood without us even knowing it for centuries. Wouldn’t it be nice if doctors could do the same?
The Four Parts of a Mosquito’s Painless Needle
Bhushan and his colleagues decided to study the proboscis of the mosquito and exactly how it works. This is the part that actually extracts your blood. There are 4 defining characteristics that they hope to use to create a kinder way to insert needles in human skin.
Number one is that the proboscis is harder in some places and softer in others. If they mimic this in a needle, making it softer at the tip, it creates less skin deformation as it goes in.
Number two is that the mosquito actually releases a numbing agent as it inserts its own needle, immediately numbing any pain it might cause.
Numbers three and four relate to the fascicle, the part of the proboscis that actually removes the blood from the human. The fascicle is serrated like a saw that vibrates as it enters. The serration makes the needle go in easier and the vibration makes it use less force to pierce the skin.
Inspired By Nature
Bhushan says they took what entomologists already knew about mosquitoes and then used their own engineering background to use the information for the creation of something better. This isn’t the first time Bhushan has used nature in this manner. He has, in the past, created high-tech surfaces inspired by butterfly wings and used plant characteristics to inspire better fake leather and waterproof coatings.
The types of needles this effort would create are likely to be too expensive for everyday use, however, for children and the elderly, it could be an amazing discovery. Now that they have the information the next step is funding and creation. They’ve got a pretty good start.
Amazing how it makes sense although you would have never thought something good could come from a mosquito. At Mosquito Squad of Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra, we are fascinated by science and all that it has to share with us. And although we would rather eliminate the mosquitoes in your yard we are also glad to use them for anything they can offer to make life better. We will continue to follow science and share what we find with you. It’s great to have the knowledge to forward on to our clients, especially when it’s interesting and a little fun like this is. Want to know more of what we can offer you beyond information? Call us today!