Evolving design: A second-generation device (right), not yet manufactured, uses a glass vial that is compatible with existing machinery used to fill syringes with medicine.
The final product is more like a square cassette than the traditional pen-shaped syringe. To inject medication, the user pulls out the top of the cassette and inverts it to create the plunger. The surface meant to rest against the skin is curved, which Roux says makes needle placement more stable and will eliminate some of the pain associated with injections. Each Syreen unit clips to the next, making the devices easy to transport individually or in a set.
Despite these benefits, Roux faced a major hurdle when shopping the first version of the syringe around to manufacturers. (Cambridge Consultants is a design firm and does not manufacture products.) While people loved the design, he says, they said they wouldn’t use it, because it wasn’t compatible with the machinery currently used for filling syringes with medication.
That’s why the team went back to the drawing board to develop the second version, which has a vial that’s compatible with the filling equipment. The new design is larger than the original, and the use of glass rather than recyclable plastic reduces some of the environmental benefits. But overall, it is still less wasteful than existing syringes. “The original design allowed us to come up with interesting ideas, and then pull back,” says Roux.
The company now plans to create a prototype of the new glass version, Syreen II, and bring it back to manufacturers. “I don’t think it’s the environmental friendliness that will sell this,” says Roux. “It’s the economy and features.”