Autonomous Pill Machine for Elderly Suffering From Memory Loss




About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations base...

Over 125,000 Americans die annually from not taking medications properly. This includes forgetting to take the medication, consuming the incorrect amount, and/or in the wrong manner. As people age, they tend to lose their memory and forget small details. Pills, whose presence has been steadily growing in the medical field, are meant to save their lives, yet elderly people are not able to take them due to memory loss and the struggle to take the exact amount of pills in the correct manner. Our product, the Autonomous Pill Machine for Elderly Suffering from Memory Loss, will solve the problem of forgetting to take the correct amount of pills at the correct time. The Autonomous Pill Machine for Elderly Suffering from Memory Loss has the functionality of being able to dispense the amount of pills specified by the user and notify the user via text messaging to ensure that the user takes his or her pills. 70% of elderly people have cellphones, making the text messaging system an efficient method. The pill dispenser is a fully automated robot which will work and control itself once the user puts his/her medication inside the robot. Although there are similar models, the Autonomous Pill Machine for Elderly Suffering from Memory Loss is fully automated and the most cost effective. By implementing a breakthrough design to capture only one pill, this dispenser is the most economical and effective device to date. Our ultimate mission is to save many lives - lives that may be lost simply due to the elderly forgetting to take their medication.

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Step 1: Collecting the Supplies

- An Arduino board

- Three pill containers (Height: 2 ¼ inches, Radius: 1 ¼ inches)

- Three servos

- One DC Motor

- Three 3-D Printed Cones

- Wood (Base and frame)

- Three vibrators

- Tools

- Rectangular plastic piece

Step 2: Planning Out the Project

- Before we were able to start anything, we first had to plan out the dispenser's layout and functions

- Dispenser has the capability to send text messages and dispense different sized pills

- Would require an Arduino board, servos, and DC motors

- Within one week, the team thought out the placement of these different components, and created a method to retrieve one pill from multiple pills

- Uses a cone, pill storage bottle, servo motor, and a DC motor

- Compact enough so that three of these processes can be occurring simultaneously

Step 3: Printing the Cones

- 3D printed the cones

- Sanded off the top of the cones to make sure that they were the same height

Step 4: Creating the Frames

- Cut the wooden dowels and assembled them into three rectangular frames

- Each frame supports a pill container, cone, servo, and a vibrator

- Width: 3.75 inches; Length: 8.9375 inches

- Three frames are positioned into a triangular shape

Step 5: Attaching Servos Onto the Wooden Frames

- Used wood screws (height: 1.0625 inches) to attach a servo motor on each wooden frame

- Used two screws per servo to secure it on frame

Step 6: Cutting Out the Plastic Base

- Outlined a circle (diameter: 6 inches) on plastic board, then cut out circle

- Circle acts as the base

Step 7: Gluing Cones Onto Servos

- Finished up the wooden frames

- Attached plastic pill container using a screw and a servo (connected with two screws)

- Hot glue was used to attach the 3D printed cone to the end of the servo

Step 8: Adding Onto the Frames

- Outlined where the frames will be placed

- Equilateral triangle circumscribed in a circle

- Drilled holes through the bottom of each frame

- Placed the frames into a triangular formation

- Used the holes at the bottom of each frame to mark (on plastic base) where the plastic holes will be drilled

Step 9: Drilling Plastic Base

- Drilled holes on plastic base

- Used the markings from (Step 8) to make sure that holes are accurate

Step 10: Securing Frames Onto Plastic Base

- Used two screws to mount each cone frame onto the plastic base

- After placing the frames onto the plastic base, screws were inserted bottom-up to secure the frames

Step 11: Cutting the Top Plate

- Unscrewed the wooden frames from the plastic base

- Cut another plastic piece

- This will be used for the top plate

- Wooden frames were taken off to prevent frames from being damaged

Step 12: Attaching Arduino Board

- Using the base, we screwed the wooden frames onto the base

- We used the top plate to align the wooden frames, then screwed on the frames to the top plate

- Attached two standoffs (0.9 inches) to the top plate

- Using standoffs as elevation, an Arduino board was screwed onto the standoffs

- Breadboard was placed underneath the Arduino board

- Large hole was drilled onto the top plate so that wires can pass through it

Step 13: Arduino Code

- We worked on the Arduino code

- Code did not work properly for the first few times, however after re-wiring the code was a success

Step 14: Creating the Smart App

- As the Arduino code was completed, the Android application was developed over the span of a week<

Step 15: Vibrating Servos

- Servos (which will act as the vibrators) were added onto the cones

- The servos had a "L" shaped piece of plastic on servo, so that when servo spins there is a force of displacement created



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    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I am impressed. Now you need to work on one that crushes the pills. All my husband's meds had to be crushed and mixed with a liquid. Crushing was very hard since I have arthritis in my hand.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    That's a great idea for a second prototype. I am hopeful we can improve the design.

    The student that design the pill machine presented their idea at the IEEE international conference at Columbia University. The idea was well like. Thank You.


    2 years ago

    Pretty cool!