• Torment your friends with this DIY Dune Pain Box
06.09.14

Torment your friends with this DIY Dune Pain Box

Something tells me this isn’t Frank Herbert’s official explanation for how the Pain Box in Dune works; but nevertheless, here’s a method for building your very own ad hoc phantom pain container, perfect for coaxing your lily-livered friends and children to sticking their trembling hand into. 

The enigmatic device that triggers intense pain without doing a lick of physical harm can be approximated by abusing a glitch in our pain receptors. This is knowns as the Thermal Grill Illusion, and the way it works is thus: the torturous mirage of searing pain can be created by stimulating pleasing coolness and pleasant warmth simultaneously. All you need inside your elaborately and sinisterly adorned pain box is a grill-like grid with alternating cool and warm rods placed side-by-side. To give you an example of what we’re talking, one researcher induced the effect using frozen and microwaved hotdogs—likely a first for the scientific method. Just be careful when trying this at home because things can get dramatic:

If you want to read more about the fascinating phenomena, head on over to io9.