Porcupine barbs may inspire new IV needles


20 Responses to “Porcupine barbs may inspire new IV needles”

  1. theophrastvs says:

    ok, why would want hypodermic needles designed never to come out?  (but instead to work their way inwards, slowly… relentlessly…)

  2. Charlie B says:

    Porcupine quills open up like tiny umbrellas when tugged, and remove gobbets of flesh when you pull them out with vise grips.  This process is even more painful than it sounds, and I suspect there’s some sort of irritant chemical under the umbrellas, too.  I’d rather push a porcupine quill through an inch of flesh than pull one out a quarter inch.

    • TheOven says:

      Just air as far as I know.
      The quills are hollow and so when you apply pressure to grab it to pull it, it balloons out elsewhere. Most likely inside your dog. The way to get them out is to clip the end off so they deflate and then pull them out with a little twist. Prolly hurts exactly the same. 

  3. Henry Pootel says:

    People are just too used to having adhesive bandages ripped off – it’s time for something better…


    You could put a bunch of microscopic barbs like this on a bandage for really good adhesion.  Make them out of some kind of biodegradable substance and they’d eventually just disintegrate in the skin.  Even better would be to lace them with a mild antibiotic or other beneficial medicine, so they put micro-doses into the skin as they hold on the bandage as they slowly dissolve. Contact me for where to send those patent royalties :)

  4. CastanhasDoPara says:

    @theophrastvs:disqus  and @google-44fb9c17a22832413cb891dda4c302a8:disqus, I imagine being able to control the micro-workings of the quill or at least a quill like device would be very useful. Turn it on and put it in; when it’s time to take it out turn it off and remove. I could see aplications for usage in mental wards, children’s care units and other situations where the patient has “trouble” keeping the IV in. There would also along that logic be some veterinary uses too.

    I’m glad people do research like this. Sure on the face it may seem ludicrous and ostensibly pointless but it’s curiosity and ingenuity that have gotten the human race to where we are today. (Whether or not that is a good place or not is another debate entirely.)

  5. ianm506 says:

    Ah – the Journal PNAS.

    I suppose this may only be funny to those who frequently pronounce it out loud.  At work, we say ‘Pee- NAS’.  That I find this funny makes me little more than a child, but I’m fine with that.

    • Ken Williams says:

      If you pronounce it “P-N-A-S” it only makes it sound like a sillily-pronounced version of the same word.  It’s a foolproof name.

  6. awjt says:

    The barbs could be aligned such a way that with a twisting motion, the needle slides back out effortlessly, but general yanks and tugs don’t pull it out, such as catching it on a chair arm or the side of a bed.  Think how an artichoke has its leaves spirally aligned.

  7. Bryan3000000 says:

    This is an incredibly terrible idea.  As soon as someone accidentally steps on an IV line, someone has a big chunk of flesh and vein ripped out, and is now bleeding profusely.  At least tape generally doesn’t rip off flesh.

    • anwaya says:

      Next time you fill up at a gas station, have a look at the breakaway connection at the pump end of the fuel line.

      • awjt says:

        That’s even better. Also, I was thinking, maybe not quite as snug as a porcupine quill. Maybe just enough barbs to keep it in more firmly than smooth bare metal, but not so many that it rips the vein out, too. Obvious, some product testing is in order on teristz.

  8. Frederik says:

    Doing research doesn’t mean they are trying to replicate the porcupine quil. But merely to understand it better and maybe adapt some the things they learn from it to make better needles.

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