STEM II at Mass Academy is the Assistive Technology project, done in groups of four students. The groups go through the engineering design process to create a product targeted at aiding a client with a disability in the community.

Adaptable Device which Reminds User to Take Medications

I was in a group with Liam Morrison, Justin Che, and Krishna Purimetla. The objective of this project was to create a device which assist users in remembering to take the correct prescribed medication at the correct time of the day. The target audience for this project and device was the elderly population, specifically those with additional conditions that negatively affect memory or coordination. It is known that as age increases, memory worsens, and poor memory can lead to forgetting to take important medication at the correct time.

CAD image of the model

This image to the left shows the completed CAD assembly of our prototype designed in Solidworks, as would be seen when fully assembled in real life. The design is 9 inches in diameter, and in its rest state, with the pill compartments (purple parts) closed, the compartments all sit flush with the edge of the base (grey part) and lid (blue part). In the top left corner of the image, one pill compartment is held open, and as is seen this is the only option which the user can take at that time, ensuring that the correct medication is taken every time.

CAD image of the underside of the model

The image to the right is another image from Solidworks, from a bottom view of the model. This image shows the layout of all the arduino componentry necessary to run the model. In the center of the image, the stepper motor and pushrod are mounted to a tower in the middle of the top lid. Around the central stepper are mounting points for the arduino UNO board (red), a breadboard to facilitate simple connections (green), and a driver board for the stepper motor (grey). Not modeled in this version of the CAD are the LED, which in this view fits below the stepper, and the button, which is located in the space to the right of the breadboard.

Click this link to view and download the .stl files

In this video, you can see our prototype functioning on a smaller scale for demonstration purposes. In normal use, the model will open a container three times a day, for example at 8am, 12pm, and 5pm. For our purposes here, we wrote another program which runs on a much smaller timeframe, so that the whole process can be seen in approximately 45 seconds. As you can see, when it is time for the user to take their medication, the internal stepper motor rotates, pushing the correct box out by means of the pushrod shown above. At the same time, the LED reminder system starts blinking to alert the user. When the user notices and comes to take their medication, they will press the button to disarm the LED, demonstrating that they have been alerted and are taking their medication at the correct time. As seen in the second instance in the video, the pills will only be available for a certain amount of time in the day, so in a true daily application each pill box may only be open for around one hour. After that time, if the user has not collected the pills for that time, the alert will stop and the pills will be hidden again. This key feature prevents mistakes occurring where the user takes one set of medication too late, at the same time as a future medictation. Due to the nature of these medications, there could often be undesirable side effects when mixing medications, therefore this feature was imperative for the safety of the user.