INAMI Space Laboratory collaborates with IHI Aerospace and Nipro to develop a prototype of an intravenous drip system for space

Representative director Noriaki Inaba has signed up for a space trip with Virgin Galactic, which will take place as early as the end of the year. Assuming that we are entering an era in which civilians will be able to go into space, the company is taking the necessary steps to create an era in which all human beings can go to space, including not only healthy people like astronauts, but also the elderly, the disabled and those in need of medical care. Assuming that medical care in space will become necessary once individual space travel becomes more accessible in the future, development in the field of space medicine is being promoted.

In collaboration with IHI Aerospace and Nipro, the company has developed a prototype of an intravenous drip system for use in space. It is expected to be able to infuse infusions into the body in microgravity and in the absence of electricity in space. The company asked OSG, a leading cutting tool manufacturer, to cooperate and produced the prototype by layered modelling using a 3D printer. The infusion device uses gravity to drop the infusion fluid. The prototype uses a spring or rubber to pull the infusion fluid and inject it. Details of performance verification and commercialisation will be worked out in the future.

We will continue to increase the number of collaborators and look to improve the prototype. We plan to seek the opinions of Dr Reo Takizawa, Assistant Professor of the Department of Vascular Medicine, Department of Surgery, The Jikei University School of Medicine, and Dr Kurozumi, Doctor of Medicine, International University of Health and Welfare, Narita Hospital, on the evaluation and improvements of the system.

Currently, there are few medical problems because astronauts in good health stay in space. If space travel services become more widespread in the future, there will be cases of individuals with health concerns going to space, and there will be demand for intravenous drip systems. The system is also expected to be used on the ground in times of disaster and in special environments such as Antarctica.