Billions of needles and syringes are used every year, between health workers and ordinary citizens. If disposed of improperly, waste needle and syringe can create a serious biohazard, as any infected blood from the inner tube cannot be broken down or processed through recycling.
This accumulation of waste could reach an all-time peak with the global launch of vaccines COVID-19, but a designer came up with a solution. Daniel López Velasco and Ithzel Libertad Cerón López have created Helix, a special collapsible syringe that can become the environmentally friendly alternative to disposable devices used in today's healthcare sector.
An origami syringe
Consider a conventional syringe. Plastic tubes and thin steel needle, requires the use of 5 different construction materials: steel, polyethylene, rubber, resin, glue and thermal dye. To make the construction process less laborious and expensive, Helix is built with a single material: FlexiOH UV, a type of thermoset silicone.
To maintain the flexibility of the folding parts of the Helix syringe and the stiffness of the needle, the designers used thermal curing. It is a temperature induced hardening process.
Helix is inspired by the ability to compact a lot of volume and space through the art of origami paper folding. The crystalline silicone structure of the Helix syringe can carry vaccine liquids and be emptied by "squeezing" it.
How the Helix syringe works
The drug can be poured into the syringe through a vacuum loading port located above the rigid plunger of the needle. First the plunger. When ready to use, the rigid plunger goes down. He then compresses the plunger plunger, successfully and safely administering the drug to the patient through the rigid silicone needle.
By building Helix with only one material and giving it a compact and collapsible structure, the designers have created an environmentally friendly alternative to the conventional syringe and needle, also reducing its size by 30%. Plus, you don't even need to remove the needle for disposal.