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Google Files Patent to Draw Blood Without Needles

Small negative-pressure barrel does the job

Google, Inc. has filed a patent for a needle-free blood draw system that can act as a wearable or hand-held device to remove a small amount of blood from the body. Instead of using the traditional needle to draw blood, the proposed system is gas-based and is designed to suck the blood into a small barrel.

The patent, filed in May 2014, suggests that the device may be used for testing blood sugar levels, according to a report from the U.K. news source Wired.

Google’s patent application describes the device as “an evacuated negative-pressure barrel with a membrane sealing an aperture at a distal end, and a housing affixed to a proximal end.” The application goes on to say that “an accelerator barrel can be positioned within the negative-pressure barrel and fixed to the housing, with an open proximal end in a chamber in the housing, and an open distal end aligned with the aperture. The chamber can be filled with pressurized gas, and a trigger valve can hydrostatically separate the chamber from the open proximal end of the accelerator barrel. A micro-particle positioned within the accelerator barrel can be accelerated to high speed by an abrupt surge of gas by releasing the trigger valve. The micro-particle can attain enough momentum to pierce the aperture membrane and penetrate adjacent dermal tissue. A resulting micro-emergence of blood can be drawn into the negative pressure barrel.”

Google’s life sciences team has developed several items designed to help diabetics. In 2014 the lab unveiled smart contact lenses that include circuitry to monitor glucose levels. The team is also making bandage-sized glucose monitors that detect sugar levels and that could be disposable.

Patents often do not lead to the immediate development of commercial products, so it is unclear whether the new blood draw system will come to market in the near future.

Sources: Wired; December 7, 2015; and U.S. Patent Office; December 3, 2015.

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