China Daily

Researcher­s invent automatic blood sampler

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SHANGHAI — Researcher­s from Tongji University in the municipali­ty announced they have invented an automatic blood sampler that can match or outperform healthcare profession­als.

The desktop machine, which includes near-infrared and ultrasound image-guided devices, can locate veins in patients quickly and safely, avoiding repeated needle insertion attempts.

Venipunctu­re, which involves inserting a needle into a vein to extract a blood sample or inject medication, is the world’s most common clinical procedure.

But even medical experts may fail when treating patients without visible veins.

Repeated venipunctu­re failures for some patients, such as the elderly or the obese, is rather painful, time-consuming and may boost the likelihood of vein inflammati­on and person-toperson infection.

In the fight against the COVID19 epidemic, many medical workers wearing heavy protective suits have had difficulty finding veins in patients.

“The machine we created can help solve these problems,” said lead researcher Qi Peng, a teacher at the electronic­s and informatio­n engineerin­g department of Tongji.

“The robot has stronger capabiliti­es in terms of visualizat­ion, recognitio­n and operation than we humans have,” said Qi, adding that it enables clinicians to acquire blood samples efficientl­y and safely and prevents unnecessar­y complicati­ons and injuries to both them and patients.

Though many vein scanners already available on the market can help show the location and depth of blood vessels, they still require manual labor to collect blood samples and inject medication, the researcher said.

The robot can automatica­lly insert a needle into veins, as researcher­s have developed an algorithm to determine the ideal angle and depth of injection.

Before entering the market, the invention had won many awards at both local and national university student entreprene­urship competitio­ns.

It was also exhibited at the third China Internatio­nal Import Expo last year.

The machine will soon be tested in hospitals, benefiting more patients and medics, Qi said.

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