This Color-Changing Syringe Could Save Millions Of Lives

This low-cost syringe could reduce the number deaths each year caused by unsafe needle injections.

A new, non-reusable syringe that changes colors could decrease the 1.3 million deaths each year caused by dirty needles in developing nations.

Dr. David Swann of Huddersfield University invented A Behaviour Changing Syringe (ABCs) that turns bright red within 60 seconds of use, preventing it from being reused. The device was a finalist for the prestigious INDEX: Award.

In developing nations, reuse of standard syringes is a huge problem. People scavenge through landfills looking for discarded syringes, then sell the unsterile needles to hospitals, resulting in infections and deaths.

While other non-reusable syringes can cost 200% more than standard syringes, the ABCs cost approximately four cents, only 1% more than the standard.

The ABCs is packaged in an air-tight container. Special "intelligent ink" turns the barrel of the syringe from transparent to red--a universal signifier of “danger”--60 seconds after the package is opened and exposed to air. Swann tested the ABCs in India, and found that 100% of men, women, and children (both literate and illiterate) correctly identified the red syringe to be dangerous.

Paired with other innovative ideas like a bracelet that reminds mothers when it’s time for their baby’s next vaccine and a super-thermos that keeps vaccines cold for up to 30 days in hot climates, this new syringe could significantly reduce early deaths in developing nations.

[Image: Vimeo]

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  • Transmariner

    The feature film 3 Needles couldn't express this concern more. Thanks @daveove Glad to see this simple, like Ziplock blue+green = Yellow, yet so long to introduce! Proof again the mind has a hard time simplifying ;)