How a 14-year-old girl living in one of the toughest lockdown zones in western Sydney invented a needle-free injection – as she prepares to return to school and print the prototype
- Jorja Suga, 14, has spent her 3-month lockdown designing a needleless Epipen
- Year 9 student from Liverpool in western Sydney came up with the idea last year
- ‘Epinject’ is an epinephrine injector, uses high pressure springs without needle
- Jorja previously won a prize for an invention of ‘Safety Smart Goggles’ in 2019
A young west Sydney high school student has invented a needleless injection during her lockdown, while she waits anxiously for her school to reopen.
Jorja Suga, 14, has been eagerly awaiting the reopening of her school, allowing her access to a 3D printer to prototype the invention she has been working on throughout the lockdown.
The 9-year-old student from Liverpool has spent the past three months designing a needle-free version of the Epipen while homeschooling.
Jorja, a budding inventor, began developing the idea for a school project late last year, before the Delta outbreak shut down the city statewide.
Jorja Suga, 14, (pictured) spent most of her lockdown designing a needleless version of the Epipen
‘At the end of last year we did a school project based on STEM [Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics]Jorja told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I wanted to delve more deeply into the biology of innovation.’
While studying at home, Jorja began researching anaphylaxis and came across studies showing that a person’s fear of needles could keep them from using an Epipen.
An Epipen may deter some users who are anaphylaxis and have a fear of needles (pictured, stock photo)
She also developed it in response to needle-related injuries.
The device is still capable of producing a high-pressure stream of adrenaline in the person, allowing both young and old to use it.
“It’s called the EpinJect,” she said.
“It’s a needleless epinephrine injector, it works with high-pressure springs, those high-pressure springs use enough force to pierce the skin without using a needle.”
Budding inventor (pictured) hopes to print her prototype ‘EpinJect’ pen when she has access to her school’s 3D printer
The Epipen Jorja is working on looks like a regular injector that is placed against the thigh, but when the button is pressed, the medication is injected without a needle.
Jorja said she does not suffer from anaphylaxis, but when she entered a competition for an earlier invention in 2019, her interest in biological innovation was sparked.
“I made another invention in year 7 that won a big competition and made me want to explore biology further,” she said.
Her previous invention was part of Origin Energy’s 2019 national littleBIGidea competition, making her one of only three winners for her “Safety Smart Goggles.”
The goggles are designed to prevent drowning in young children.
“It uses a microchip in the nose chip that is connected to a parent or guardian’s bluetooth, so if the child is underwater, the parents get an alert,” she said.
Jorja is now waiting for a patent for her design, but first she wants to go back to school so she can use a 3D printer to make her prototype.
“Right now we’re trying to prototype and then we’ll look at a patent or work with a company,” she said.
“I can’t really go back to school because we’re learning at home now.”
The 9th grade student says she dreams of eventually becoming a biomedical engineer, but meanwhile, she’s waiting for her school to reopen in mid-October.
“I want to be a biomedical engineer, one of the judges for the first competition was one,” she said.