Automatic pill dispenser For The Elderly and Disabled persons.

Automatic pill dispenser For The Elderly and Disabled persons.

Many people usually forget when it’s time to take their pills, this has led to the invention of pill dispensers. You can find two types of these dispensers, which are: non-electric, and automatic ones. Most of them are featuring a reminder mechanism, and both types usually need someone to organize the pills daily or weekly in different compartments. This makes a patient over-dependent on a caregiver to help with his or her drug,  making the patient a dependent person. This has led a team of engineers to create a smart pill dispenser called SmartPill, which doesn’t need a handmade pill organization. It is accessible to disabled people and has the capacity to help patients be more independent.

SmartPill Web Application

SmartPill system features two subsystems:

  • Smartpill Dispenser: A physical device that organizes, stores, and dispenses the pills. It also acts as the main interface for the patient.
  • Smartpill Web App: This is a web user interface that will enable the doctor or caregiver for the patient to configure and track patient intakes.

The web application features a nice friendly user interface, which enables the doctor to configure up to 4 different pills for each Smartpill Dispenser, and will select up to 3 intakes per day for each pill. This feature enables the doctor to change the dosage remotely whenever it is needed.

SmartPill system is designed taking into consideration the circumstances of some patients, like patients with senile dementia, Alzheimer or visual or audible impairments. Due to these health limitations, the dispenser is fitted with a large-format screen that will enable the patient to fill the pills in a comfortable way. It also features audible and light feedback that will remind the patient to take the pills at the right time. The patient does not have to worry about the placement of different pills in their position, the device Features a smart mechanism that distributes the pills inside the pill dispenser and dispenses the required dose at the right time. SmartPill Dispenser enables a wireless Internet connection to the AWS Cloud via the WiFi connection of the Microchip AVR-IoT board so that it can be remotely monitored and configured through the web application. The app also shows when the pills have been taken and will notify the caregiver if the pill is not taken.

The AVR-IoT is connected via AWS IoT Core by MQTT protocol. This enables bidirectional connectivity between the Cloud ecosystem and the hardware itself. This communication sends the dispensing message to the Dispenser, and also the confirmation events from the dispenser to the cloud. The SmartPill Web App helps to enhance the experience that entails configuring an electronic device and controlling someone’s else medication. The core of the device is an Arduino Mega that controls the servo motors that dispense the pills, and also the Nextion touch screen, the Real-Time Clock (RTC), the sound effects, and the AVR-IoT communications board. The AVR-IoT is connected to the Arduino Mega via a Serial UART connection, and the Servo motors are controlled by PWM. The RTC is connected to the Arduino Mega by I2C, and IR barrier Sensor for detecting the pills is connected to the analog pins of the Arduino board.

The dispensing system work features various sections with different parts and functionality. The image above breaks down the various parts and they are explained below:

  1. Base: The base supports the rest of the dispenser. It features two holes which enables the motion sensor functional. It also contains a flap which brings the pills into the cup.
  2. Slider: The top of the slider supports the pill containers. You can find a slope underneath it, in which the pills travels all the way down to the flap. On the bottom of the slider, there is a gap designed to put all the electronics in it.
  3. Side parts: The side parts are used to protect the hardware and pills from humidity, temperatures, dirt and dust.
  4. Nextion NX8048T070: This is the screen interface between the dispenser and the user.
  5. Top parts: The top part is used to protect the hardware and pills from humidity, temperatures, dirt and dust, and it also separates the drum from the pill containers
  6. Parallax Servo 900-0005: It is a 360º electric motor which places the drum in the right position
  7. Drum: The drum is a connection tube between the outside and the pill containers. It rotates in order to get to the right container.
  8. Back door: The back door helps to get in and out the pill containers with the slider.
  9. Speakers: Used for communicating to the user all the information needed.
  10. Ultrasonic Sensor – HC SR04 : This device helps detect when the cup has been moved away.
  11. Pill containers: The container houses the pills and, they dispense them at the right moment with the right quantity. We should note that as a prototype, the pill dispenser is designed with 4 containers. However, it can be adapted to a larger capacity.

You can get more information about the project here.

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About Tope Oluyemi

I am passionate about technology especially consumer electronics and gadgets and I love to talk and write about them. At my spare time I play video games, watch movies and I love biking.

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