New Self-Administered Blood Collection Device Could Replace Needles
I’m sure we can all agree that drawing blood is not the most enjoyable thing in the world. A new DARPA-sponsored company would like to replace needles and make blood testing way more convenient. Tasso Inc., an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has just received a $3 million federal grant to continue developing a pingpong ball-sized disposable device that allows users to painlessly administer their own blood tests in just two minutes.
Rather than puncturing a vein, when the user holds this device against his or her skin, it creates a slight vacuum that immediately starts to pull blood from many microscopic open channels called capillaries. During the process, capillary action—the same physics that causes water to wick up paper—draws blood into an attached collection container. The device can currently extract about 0.15 cubic centimeters of blood, enough for most routine lab analyses, including cholesterol, infection, cancer cells and blood sugar tests.