Novel replacement for conventional needle and syringe

Chris Holden (21), A third year design student at Northumbria University, has won a prestigious national award for medical design by redesigning the conventional needle and syringe. Chris has won the NPSA (national patient safety agency) award of £3000 and a 3 month internship at NCR financial solutions worth £4000 from the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragements of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

Northumbria University has filed a patent application to protect Christopher Holden's winning 'Design Directions' Medidome device. The University is currently seeking external funding to develop and commercialise the device and the fact that MediDome has received this award from the RSA underlines its potential.

Christopher consulted the Head of Clinical Governance and Risk, the Chief of Electronics and Medical Engineering, and the Head of Health and Safety Adviser (the latter also a former nurse) at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. MediDome would also bring benefits when used in military and natural disaster situations, and mass immunisation in developing countries.

Chris's wining design "MediDome" redefines the idea of the injection. It aims to eliminate needle stick injuries and the fear of needles and injections, simplify the process and speed up patient treatment. The product's aesthetics show a softer, friendlier and less threatening form, and MediDome has a unique tester to ensure that a vein has not been ruptured during intra muscular or subcutaneous injection. A sterile cover is removed to expose adhesive, anesthetic and antiseptic wings that stick the MediDome to the required area for injection. The patented single use mechanism can never be used twice, so syringes cannot be shared, and viruses such as HIV or blood born diseases cannot be passed on.

It is made from a soft flexible plastic, pre-filled with a measured drug dose (eliminating the need for priming), all manufactured in one factory as one product, which means lower cost production. MediDome uses a universal colour coding drug system - the ring is a different colour depending on which drug is in the pre-filled reservoir. Minimal packaging reduces the product's carbon footprint, and a large label area contains all necessary information, such as drug name and dosage. The peel off adhesive cover also acts as a tamper alarm - it changes colour if the product has been ruptured or tampered with. A companion product, the Absorption MediDome, works in the same way for drugs such as painkillers and certain antibiotics but without the needle. During his research,

RSA Design Directions encourages emerging young designers to engage with the broader social and environmental context in which they work. Chris's work can be seen online, along with other winners, in an RSA Design Directions Award Online Exhibition at

Prizes this year total in the region of £100,000 comprising travel and cash awards and work placement internships. Sponsors include NESTA, GlaxoSmithKline, BT plc, Aircraft Medical, Mark Wilkinson Ltd, The Worshipful Company of Tinplate Workers, the National Patient Safety Agency, NCR and the Ceramic Industry Forum. Over 1100 students entered this years's competition and previous winners include Jonathan Ive, designer of the ipod and fashions designer Betty Jackson.

Chris spent last year working as a toy designer in Hong Kong for 4 months and completing live projects with companies such as Motorola, Unilever, Inverness Medical, Black+Blum and the Early Learning centre. After completing his internship with NCR in Dundee he will move to London to work with DesignBridge a design consultancy in London before starting his final year.

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