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An innovation we can all cheer: the pain-free needle

An innovation we can all cheer: the pain-free needle

Posting in Design

File this under "Why didn't someone think of this before?" A new needle makes all injections pain-free.

Imagine you're about to get a shot at the doctor's office.

Instead of feeling a painful prick as the needle goes in, you watch it touch your skin but feel nothing.

That's how a revolutionary new needle works: It first injects you with a tiny amount of local anesthetic, which masks the pain inflicted by the bigger needle.

Okay, so the first injection is not entirely painless, but "virtually pain-free," says the BBC.

It quotes the needle's inventor, UK-based 29-year-old designer Oliver Blackwell, who says the first prick is "like a fly landing on your palm."

Still, the new needle is a big improvement on the current method of creating pain-free injections: "At the moment, if they want to use a local anesthetic they have to use two needles, find keys and go to the medicine cupboard separately and it all takes time and effort," Blackwell says.

Blackwell got help with his design, which looks like a regular injection needle, from two family doctors and a former president of The Royal College of Anaesthetists, who helped him make it easy to use.

While millions of people would love to for their shots to become pain-free immediately, the new needle must go through more tests before it can be mass-produced.

Till then, if you're petrified of shots, use this 11-step Wiki tutorial on surviving them without fainting.

Related on SmartPlanet:

via: BBC

photos: Top: Blackwell's pain-free injection needle (Courtesy Plymouth University); Bottom: Blackwell, right, with his medical director, Dr. David Berger (Courtesy Plymouth University)

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Laura Shin

Features Editor

Laura Shin has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, and is currently a contributor at Forbes. Previously, she worked at Newsweek, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and LearnVest. She holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure