How About an Ultrasonic Pill Splitter?

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How About an Ultrasonic Pill Splitter?

Post by WildBoar » Thu Dec 02, 2004 5:44 pm

When I was kid the first thing I ever saw
labeled "ultrasonic" was a small cleaning
device that held about one cup of water.
It could clean jewelery, small instruments,
etc. <p>As my interest in electronics increased, so did
my fasination with ultrasonics. A local artist
who carved incredible designs in wood rifle
stocks used an ultrasonic carving tool. A
brilliant young dentist I knew used a painless
ultrasonic tool for cleaning teeth. I helped
in the design of a ultrasonic lock picking
tool for locksmiths.<p>All this stuff happened years ago, but now I
think there is a real need for a better way
to split pills. I'm not kidding. Thousands
of doctors prescribe drugs in tablet form that
are twice the prescribed dosage the doctor
wants the patient to take at one time. This
is done because a 10 mg pill can cost almost
the same as a 5 mg pill. The doctor tells the
patient to buy one of those cheap pill splitters
that use a single edge razor blade that cuts with
a guillontine like action. Anyone who has used
one of these horrors knows that 90% of the time
the pill splits into several pieces, or is cut
completely lopsided.<p>Since the internet came along, tens of millions
of us order our meds online. This makes the
problem even worse because the 50-to-60% savings
goes away if you order a lower dose, as opposed
to a higher dose tablet.<p>I use an X-acto knife to carefully deepen the
the stamped groove that most tablets have.
Then I simply split the pill with my fingers.
Slow, tedious, but effective.<p>Each time I sit with my X-acto knife, splitting
enough pills for the following week I keep
thinking there has got to be a better way!<p>If you took a sharp, razor type blade and
vibrated it back and forth in that 25-to-40 Khz
range wouldn't it cut right through the tablet,
with the result being a perfect split right down
the middle?<p>I tell you what, if I could buy one right now
the cost would be a secondary consideration. My
hunch is several million other folks would feel the same way.<p>WildBoar<p>[ December 02, 2004: Message edited by: WildBoar ]<p>[ December 02, 2004: Message edited by: WildBoar ]</p>

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Re: How About an Ultrasonic Pill Splitter?

Post by josmith » Thu Dec 02, 2004 6:07 pm

If the M3 Power razor is any indication then vibrating a razor blade doesn't make it cut any better. I would think that an x-acto razor saw would notch pills better than the knife. It would remove some material but not much.
For a quick method it would seem that a sharp impact on the side opposite the notch would work best.
In any case if you are trying to improve on somthing it's better to explore many methods and then decide which one has the most potential.

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Re: How About an Ultrasonic Pill Splitter?

Post by philba » Thu Dec 02, 2004 9:52 pm

wouldn't a manual splitter make more sense? Kind of like a paper slicer with a way to hold the pill in place and keep the pieces if they fly.

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Re: How About an Ultrasonic Pill Splitter?

Post by jwax » Fri Dec 03, 2004 4:05 am

Wildboar- I agree with the josmith scientific approach- check out all the possible pill-splitting options first.
I'd also check on a piezoelectric shock driver. That is, applying a short pulse to a piezo material (quartz, ceramic, etc.) and center the shock wave produced on a tool, similar to the way a column is cleved by a shaped explosive charge.
BTW, tell me more about this ultrasonic lockpicking tool! I'm an amateur lock picker, and am working on a variable frequency pick to shake different pins at different frequencies. Color me interested!
John ;)

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Re: How About an Ultrasonic Pill Splitter?

Post by jollyrgr » Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:28 pm

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

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Re: How About an Ultrasonic Pill Splitter?

Post by terri » Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:05 pm

The shock advocates seem to have the right idea. I've found that merely pushing the manual pill cutter blade down tends to crush, while a sharp rap tends to split the pill evenly. Centering the pill in the little v-groove is important, also. Not 100% perfect, but a sharp rap sure beats just pushing down on the cutter. I don't think I'd buy a more sophisticated cutter any more than I'd buy an electric jar opener, which I've seen on the market.
A marvelous bit of engineering and probably a godsend to the handicapped, but to me, what with the counter space involved, the cost/benefit ratio is too great.
terri wd0edw

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