Innovation That Matters

Syringe turns blood red when it's been used

Sport & Fitness

The LifeSaver hypodermic needle changes color once it's been used to alert medical professionals.

The re-use of unsterile needles can cause a variety of infections such as Hepatitis B and HIV, and is the cause of 1.3 million deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The LifeSaver hypodermic needle could put an end to those fatalities, by changing color once it’s been used to alert medical professionals.

Developed by David Swann, a design researcher at the University of Huddersfield, UK, the barrel of the syringe features an ‘intelligent ink’ that reacts to air when the needle has been removed from its packaging. When opened, the needle turns bright red within 60 seconds to warn users that it is unsafe to use. Testing the device in India, Swann found that 100 percent of both literate and illiterate people understood that the needle shouldn’t be used. The LifeSaver — also known as ABCs, or A Behavior Changing Syringe — costs around GBP 0.16 more than an ordinary needle, compared to the 200 percent price hike of self-destructing alternatives. The video below explains more about the invention:

The LifeSaver was a finalist at INDEX:AWARD 2013 and, although currently still in the prototype stage, could eventually make a difference in developing nations where use of unsterile needles is a huge problem, as well as hospitals where accidental reuse is still a possibility. Are there other ways packaging could be made more dynamic to warn users when their contents expire?

Spotted by Tracy Chong, written by Springwise



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