Stage 1: Define Problem and Solution

First Crush automatic pill crusher.

Pill Crusher example

Step 1.1

Assess Needs: Through interactions with people with disabilities and medical personnel, the manual crushing of pill-based medications for easy ingestion was determined to be problematic.

Step 1.2

Problem Identification: Injuries and the loss of a significant portion of medications were resulting from the manual crushing of pill-based medications.

Audience/Target Market Identification & Context: The aging population would be the primary beneficiary of a solution to this problem. Individuals with dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, those with hand or arm weakness from arthritis, and those who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Post Stroke and other disabilities would also benefit. A secondary market was also identified, which included nursing homes and hospitals that were experiencing repetitive motion injuries among staff, due to the manual crushing of hundreds of medications per day.

Step 1.3

Plausible Solution: The proposed solution was to develop a countertop based, battery operated, and portable prototype of an automated pill crusher.

Step 1.4

Scope of Project: In-house capabilities were available for prototype design and development, but not for production. Therefore, the project was successfully completed with the development of a prototype invention that was then handed off to partners.

Step 1.5

Path to Market: The functional proof of concept prototype was to be developed in-house, and marketed for licensing to small appliance manufacturers.


The First Crush pill crusher project progressed through the remainder of the NtK model and achieved commercialization. Stage 3 was omitted, as additional research was not needed to move this concept into the marketplace. Information from Stages 1 and 2, and the prototype developed in Stage 4, were used to solicit interest in the device from potential manufacturers. Discussions with the potential licensees, early and often during the development process helped to ensure that the prototype device met the licensee’s needs and expectations. The licensee then took the work completed by the Center on KT4TT and moved the project through the remainder of the process to commercialization. The product is currently available at for sale at the following link: