Sometimes it’s good to make the old tech better, like with syringes. They haven’t advanced much over the past 100 years. Without sensing systems, nurses and physicians fly blind, depending on anatomical landmarks, fluid return, and tactile feedback to accurately inject contents. These techniques can be difficult when targeting smaller areas, or regions where an overshoot can harm the patient. One such region is the suprachoroidal space, located between the sclera and choroid, which is less than 1 mm thick and where overshoot can cause damage to the retina. Other sensitive targets in the body include the space around the spinal cord, the peritoneal space in the abdomen, and subcutaneous tissue between the skin and muscles.

Once the needle encounters the targeted cavity space, the reduced resistance allows the fluid to be immediately released

Fortunately, the investigators at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed a new form of the mechanical injector. The I2T2 detects changes in resistance to safely deliver injections. The operator simply pushes the plunger: Once the needle encounters the targeted cavity space, the reduced resistance allows the fluid to be immediately released, which stops the needle from moving any further.

In an animal model of the suprachoroidal space, the device demonstrated injection accuracy without any additional training or reliance on specialized techniques. The investigators believe that the uses of the I2T2 are widespread and that the design can be configured for each specialized use. The device is currently in tests to offer proof of safety and utility for human use.