Students invent medical device for pain-free shots

HOUSTON - Every parent dreads it: having to take their child to the doctor for shots. Why hasn't someone figured out a way to make injections less painful?

CBS Houston affiliate KHOU reports, three students at Rice University took on the challenge and invented a solution.

Greg Allison, Andy Zhang and Mike Hua were freshmen when they first tackled the problem in an engineering lab. Their assignment was to solve a real-world problem presented by a local surgeon.

"Any time we talked to a pediatrician, they're like 'Please help us because it's such a battle.' Parents know it's a battle," Allison said.

With guidance from their professors, they came up with a device that uses a chemical reaction to numb the skin the instant before before an injection.

Their invention won an "Excellence in Freshman Engineering" award. The students even had fun coming up with the name for it: "Comfortably Numb." ("We're all classic rock fans," they explained.)

The students have filed for a provisional patent and they're hoping to bring their invention to market, either by selling it to a large medical device company or retaining ownership and marketing the device themselves themselves.