If you are a Phlebotomy technician, you know that your job can be a thankless one. You draw blood from people under Doctor’s orders for lab tests, which usually means you have to deal with a lot of people with needle phobias and other neuroses surrounding blood.
Now it looks like there may be a technology that will make having a Phlebotomist on staff unnecessary. It’s called “TAP” (short for Touch-Activated Phlebotomy) and it worked by sending several micro-needles under the skin at once to collect your blood. The needles are so small that you wouldn’t feel it, and there would be no trace of the venipuncture on your skin.
It would be bloodless.
If a Doctor or Nurse can extract samples so quickly and easily, there may not be much need for a dedicated Phlebotomist on staff.
How Faraway Is This Technology?
Seventh Sense Biosystems will need FDA approval for the technology first. The company has just been acquired by a giant medical company called Sartorius so we imagine that they believe in the feasibility (and profitability) of this technology.
Of course part of a Phlebotomist’s job description is to relax patient’s fears and anxiety about blood. Well, TAP actually extracts the patient’s blood in a way that is invisible to the patient. To top it off, the needles are also capable of releasing anti-coagulants as needed into the patient’s bloodstream.
This is just the first step in creating a blood-less medical tests that are so safe and un-intrusive that you could start seeing them installed automatically in homes to take care of all the family members inside.
Some of the amazing creature comforts that we now take for granted came from NASA and the great race into space: memory foam mattresses, copy machines, radial tires, and of course “space pens” are just some of the technologies we now enjoy (click here for a complete list: it’s a fascinating read!).
In the realm of medical technology, the technology used to create ultra-sensitive sensors for mapping the surface of the Earth may soon be used to detect skin cancers on the body. Xenics, an infrared sensor tech company, developed a super-powerful sensor for the Proba-V Satellite, which is used to monitor and detect changes in vegetation…from space.
The sensor on the Proba-V is a super-powerful 3072-pixel line sensor. This sensor, if directed towards a patient’s skin, may help dermatologists scan your skin for cancerous cells before you even notice a weird-looking mole.
The sensor is vastly more powerful than your average smartphone’s sensor, but with a little consumer demand for medical iDevices, Moore’s Law could definitely see these types of sensors coming to the consumer market sooner rather than later. Researchers have already configured Samsung smartphone sensors to detect gamma radiation with surprising accuracy.
By contrast today’s early detection technologies seem borne right out of the mid-20th century. The Dermascope involves a magnifying scope (typically about 10X magnification), and staining the skin with India ink to prevent natural reflections from the skin. Imagine what a satellite sensor that detects minute changes in vegetation FROM OUTER SPACE could do if placed right next to your skin!