Rice University undergraduates develop a quick and easy way to numb the skin, making shots virtually pain-free

Getting the flu shot is one of the many rituals that comes once a year, inoculating the population against a potentially life-threatening disease. However, for some, especially children, the experience can be frightening and painful. However, that may soon change thanks to a Rice University students’s 3D-printed invention.

The Comfortably Numb is a simple device that numbs the skin to decrease the sensation of the injection. The team of three freshmen, include Andy Zhang, Mika Hua, and Greg Allison, developed this easy-to-produce mechanism to create a portable and ready to use ice pack. The small device is composed of a 3D printed cylinder containing two chambers, one with water and the other with ammonium nitrate, and a metal plate attached at one end. When the device is activated by twisting the top, the two chambers open and the chemical reaction that occurs cools the metal plate, just like a cold pack.

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