How can a porcupine inspire new medical tech?

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Offline thedoc

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How can a porcupine inspire new medical tech?
« on: 15/12/2012 22:33:38 »
Porcupine quills penetrate skin better than a hypodermic needle because of tiny backwards-facing barbs at their tips.  This trick could now inspire better medical equipment such as needles and tissue adhesives...

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« Last Edit: 15/12/2012 22:33:38 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Re: How can a porcupine inspire new medical tech?
« Reply #1 on: 15/12/2012 23:53:28 »
A control experiment should also use fresh non-barbed quills because sanding the ends may not be equivalent to the natural surface coating.

One wouldn't necessarily want a hypodermic needle to be stuck and tearing when trying to remove it.

Even an IV needle needs to be designed to do minimal damage when removing.

One possibility might be incorporating a symmetrical wavy texture instead of barbs, but still it may not be as effective with making pressure points and voids as the barbs.

Thinking of the IV needles, they are designed with a steel point and plastic sheath.  If designed right, the plastic sheeth could slip over the barbed tip, and protect it from tearing the tissue...  at least assuming the needle is properly inserted into a vein, and one doesn't miss, or need to probe around a bit.

There is, of course, the golf ball effect, but I wonder whether these barbs will have any corollary in for wind & water resistance designs for vehicles, boats, and planes.