STEM at Mass Academy is taught by Dr. Crowthers. In the first part of the year students focus on their individual STEM project, for which we have two fairs in December and February. In the second part of the year students have a STEM II Assistive Technology project, in which students work together to create a device which can assist a certain client. In addition, the class involves a lot of scientific writing, which is used to expand our knowledge and teach us how to properly share and develop our projects in the field of science.
I worked with Mateo Rollins, Liam Morrison, and Justin Che in order to create a device to help solve the problem of medication nonadherance for a client. Medication nonadherance is a common problem where people (especially the elderly) forget to take their medication as prescribed. It is usually caused by simple procrastination or forgetfulness, and is responsible for around 125,000 deaths per year.
Elderly people with health issues often have numerous daily prescribed medications, and as age increases, it becomes more difficult to remember the amount and type of medication to take.
The project objective was to create a device that assists users in remembering to take the correct prescribed medication at the correct time of the day.
Elderly people often have difficulties with many daily tasks due to a natural decline in physical and mental ability. With modern advances in medical technology, humans have been able to create medications that have the potential to aid people with these conditions. These medications can change and improve lives by mitigating the effects of an individual’s disease or condition. However, as humans age, their physical and mental capacity slowly declines. This is a natural phenomenon in humans, however, the elderly can also be more susceptible to other detrimental diseases. Mental decline due to aging can result in poor memory and forgetfulness, which can impact medication adherence. On the surface, forgetfulness is a simple issue which, for example, could happen due to a lack of interest or understanding of why the medication is necessary. If individuals were able to remember to take their medication properly, there could potentially be a significant decrease in medical incidents due to medication nonadherence.
After the brainstorming process, we were left with around 5 designs. We then decided to compare each of the designs to our initial requirements, which left one main design which we decided to continue forward with. After cardboard proof of concepts we jumped into the Computer Aided Design (CAD) portion of the process. Finally, we 3D printed our prototype and integrated in our electrical Arduino system.
Our prototype runs using electrical Arduino components, powered by an external 9V plug. Essentially, on the outside of the main “box”, there are 21 different compartments, for 3 times a day and 7 days a week. There is a push rod that rotates on the inside of the “box” powered by a stepper motor. For example, when it is Monday morning, the rod will rotate and push out the Monday morning compartment. In addition, the top of the prototype has an LED that flashes when it is time to take the medication. Once the button is pressed (and the medication is taken) the alert will stop.
Here is the presentation which we presented during our Assistive Technology fair: