Friday, 29 May 2015

Pain No More

Credit: Fast Company

Cringe-worthy is how I remember the day I had my measles vaccination. I was already crying before I reached the clinic, and dad had to promise me a stuffed dog if I’d only let my arm take the jab. It took a lot of coaxing, compared to what little of it my dad had to do for my sister, who had the pluck to stick out her arm, like a man, for the nurse, and watched as the needle went under her skin.

There’s something terrifying about injections, although now that I come to think of it, it was more the unjustifiably multiplied pain in our head than the actual pain that scares some of us. But that could soon be history now, with Comfortably Numb, a device that ensures painless injection, invented by Rice University students Andy Zhang and Mike Hua.

Comfortably Numb is really a small 3D-printed canister (which contains water and ammonium nitrate) attached to a hypodermic needle, and a twist of it will break the two ingredients, causing the metal plate at the bottom of the device to chill, therefore numbing the skin to 4.5oC before it is punctured by the needle.

The only thing that is stopping Comfortably Numb from being widely used in the market is its cost: at USD2 it is significantly more expensive than the needle, which costs just USD0.35. So, your thoughts?

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