March 17, 2009 19:38 ET

BCIT and Local Innovator Collaborate on the Pill Crusher

Team devises a solution designed to make medication easier to swallow while reducing injuries to health care workers

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 17, 2009) - Dennis Kruger, owner of AB Innovations and a hospital employee in Mission, BC, came to the Technology Centre at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) with an idea. He wanted to invent a machine that would eliminate an uncomfortable situation for patients and a potentially harmful one for hospital staff.

Many people have to take a large number of pills every day, in the hospital or at home. Some of these medications consist of pills that are large and hard to swallow.

On many occasions, Kruger observed health care staff crushing pills using whatever means possible, causing repetitive strain injuries. Kruger began thinking about what might help automate the process. His hope was that this device would make taking medication easier for patients and the crushing process safer for hospital staff.

"They were getting rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, tendonitis - you name it - all from crushing pills," Kruger says. "We had little experience with electronic design or with control circuitry so we went to BCIT for those areas of expertise."

Under the requirements laid out by Kruger, BCIT was able to research, develop, and provide a total solution allowing the functional prototype to be produced commercially.

"One of the requirements was to minimize the space it would occupy so it would fit into the work flow of hospital staff and also so it could be used in people's homes," says Gordon Thiessen, of the Product and Processes Applied Research Team at BCIT. "We miniaturized the electronics and optimized the mechanical layout to achieve these objectives."

BCIT's Applied Research Liaison Office was also able to help with the commercialization of the Pill Crusher and it is currently being provided to the health care industry, both as a commercial and home product.

"I'd still be working on it," explains Kruger. "In fact, I could not have done it myself. So coming to BCIT was a good experience."

Media are invited to attend a demonstration of the Pill Crusher in a medical environment and speak with the inventor, Dennis Kruger and designer Gordon Thiessen at the BCIT Burnaby Campus on Thursday, March 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Building SE2, the Great Hall.

For further information or to arrange for a parking pass, please see contact information below.

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