The crisis inducer was a watch-like device that could create an artificial crisis situation of selectable severity, in order to sharpen the wits of the user. One was carried and used by Lintilla, which assisted her to run much faster than Arthur Dent, even with an imaginary broken arm.
The crisis inducer which Lintilla owned was described by Arthur as looking like a watch. The device seemed to have different crisis levels available, as Lintilla turned it up to "Mark 9" which seemed to induce a considerable amount of crisis, making her feel as though people were coming after them.
The field of crisis psychology centred around the benefits that could be found from working under pressure. The history behind it was explained by the Guide as such:
"The major problem which the medical profession in the most advanced sectors of the galaxy had to tackle - after cures had been found for all the major diseases, and instant repair systems had been invented for all physical injuries and disablements except some of the more advanced forms of death - was that of employment.
Planets full of bronzed, healthy, clean-limbed individuals merrily prancing through their lives meant that the only doctors still in business were the psychiatrists - simply because no one had discovered a cure for the universe as a whole, or rather, the only one that did exist had been abolished by the medical doctors. Then it was noticed, that like most forms of medical treatment, total cures had a lot of unpleasant side effects. Boredom, listlessness, lack of - well anything very much, and with these conditions came the realisation that nothing turned, say, a slightly talented musician, into a towering genius faster than the problem of encroaching deafness. And nothing turned a perfectly normal, healthy individual into a great political or military leader better than irreversible brain damage.
Suddenly everything changed. Previously best-selling books such as ’How I Survived an Hour With a Sprained Finger’ were swept away in a flood of titles such as ’How I Scaled the North Face of the Megaperna With a Perfectly Healthy Finger But Everything Else Sprained, Broken, or Bitten Off by a Pack of Mad Yaks’. And so doctors were back in business - recreating all the diseases and injuries they had abolished - in popular, easy-to-use forms.
Thus, given the right and instantly available types of disability, even something as simple as turning on the Three-D T.V. could become a major challenge. And when all the programs on all the channels actually were made by actors with cleft-palettes, speaking lines by dyslexic writers, filmed by blind cameramen, instead of merely seeming like that, it somehow made the whole thing more worthwhile."
The crisis inducer appeared in the following: