Medicine News

Pain Of Receiving A Shot Reduced By New Cooling Device

A group of freshmen from Rice University, calling themselves team Comfortably Numb, designed a cooling device that numbs the skin prior to getting a shot.

The device produces a rapid chemical reaction that cools patient’s skin prior to receiving an injection. Testing proves the device is capable of numbing patient’s skin within 60 seconds. With this device children will be less fearful and feel less pain when they go to doctor’s office for a shot.

The device consists of a small 3D-printed cylinder with a metal plate at one end. Inside the single-use chamber are two chambers: one holds the water, the other ammonium nitrate – the same combination of ingredients used in plastic instant packs that you crush to activate, according to CNET.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Mike Hua” author_title=”Mechanical engineering major and co-creator of the device”]

Our (lab) device is 3-D-printed and consists of two sealed chambers containing the chemical ammonium nitrate and water. A simple twisting motion moves the chambers into alignment to allow the chemicals to flow through the chamber to produce a rapid endothermic reaction. We then numb the skin by contacting the device’s metal surface to the patient’s skin.


“The materials used to create this cooling device are relatively cheap and found in abundance: plastic, metal and rubber. The materials we use cost about a quarter, and based on the estimates of manufacturing cost, we determined that the cost of final product will be around $2,” said Andy Zhang, bio-engineering major and co-creator of the device.

The team designed the device to be single-use rather than reusable because cleaning it for each use and refilling is way too complicated and time-consuming for a nurse, and injections are such a common procedure that it’s much easier to have a single-use device.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Greg Allison” author_title=”Computer science major and co-creator of the device”]

As a team, we just want to follow the project, because we think it has a lot of potential. I think that’s what drew us to this specific project. We haven’t really discussed yet whether we’re going dedicate to making this a company, but it’s something we’re open to.


In an unrelated story covered on Immortal News in February, researchers at Columbia University designed a $34 smartphone device that tests for HIV and syphilis in 15 minutes. More on this story here.

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