At last weekend’s 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire, pediatrician and pain researcher Amy Baxter gave a lecture on Buzzy, a bee-shaped device she created that, when applied to a patient who’s about to receive an injection, uses its built-in vibrating motor and ice pack to distract the patient from the pain of the needle. Buzzy launched in 2009, and since that time Baxter has promoted the device and demonstrated through research that it “significantly reduces pain by around 50 percent in children and 80 percent in adults.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The type of pain relief provided by Buzzy follows the gate theory principle, which states that nerves that register sharp pain can be overrided by nerves that register cold. Running a burn under cold water is one example of this principle in action. Besides the estimated one in 10 who suffer from a fear of needles, those who are required to take injectables on a regular basis can benefit most from Buzzy. The device also helps take the ouch away when getting a shot or having a bee sting or splinter removed.
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