Wasp-inspired needle insertion with low net push force

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This paper outlines the development of a four-part needle prototype inspired by the ovipositor of parasitic wasps. In the wasp ovipositor, three longitudinal segments called valves move reciprocally to gain depth in the substrate. It has been suggested that serrations located along the wasp ovipositor induce a friction difference between moving and anchoring valves that is needed for this reciprocal motion. Such an anchoring mechanism may not be desired in a medical setting, as serrations can induce tissue damage. Our aim was to investigate whether a multipart needle can penetrate tissue phantom material with near-zero net push force while using needle parts devoid of surface gripping textures or serrations. Accordingly, a four-part needle prototype was developed and tested in gelatine substrates. The performance of the prototype was assessed in terms of the degree of slipping of the needle with respect to the gelatine, with less slip implying better performance. Slip decreased with decreasing gelatine concentration and increasing offset between the needle parts. Motion through gelatine was achieved with a maximum push force of 0.035 N. This study indicates the possibility of needle propagation into a substrate with low net push force and without the need of serrations on the needle surface.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiomimetic and Biohybrid Systems
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 5th International Conference Living Machines 2016
EditorsN.F. Lepora, A. Mura, M. Mangan, P.F.M.J. Verschure, M. Desmulliez, T.J. Prescott
Place of PublicationBerlin, Germany
ISBN (Print)9783319424163
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event5th International Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, Living Machines 2016 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Jul 201622 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349


Conference5th International Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, Living Machines 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Biomimetics
  • Percutaneous interventions
  • Wasp ovipositor

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