Pill Dispenser To Keep You On Track

When forgetting to take medication on time can lead to a bad day or night, having a helper to keep you on track can greatly improve your life. [M. Bindhammer] faces this scenario every day, so he built his own robotic pill dispenser.

The core of the project is a 3D printed dispensing drum with individual pockets for morning and evening medication. It is mounted directly to a 360° winch servo, normally used for RC sailboats, while a second conventional servo opens a small sliding door to drop the pills onto the dispensing tray. The tray integrates a sensitive touch sensor which can detect when [M] picks up the pills, without being triggered by the pills themselves.

[M. Bindhammer] also included a small but loud speaker, connected to a speech synthesis module for audio reminders. The main controller is a Arduino Due with a custom breakout shield that also integrates a DS3231 real time clock. All the electronics are enclosed in a 80’s style humanoid robot-shaped body, with dispensing drum on its chest, and an OLED screen as it’s face.

The end result is a very polished build, which should make [M. Bindhammer]’s life with bipolar disorder a little bit easier, and he hopes it might help others as well.

For more medication related gadgets, take a peek at another pill dispenser and a 3D printed dosing spoon to replace an essential but discontinued commercial version.

11 thoughts on “Pill Dispenser To Keep You On Track

  1. I don’t like the idea that pills accumulate in the bowl when you forgot to take them. Might not end up very well for someone with alzheimers or similar disease…

    1. I have a similar concern. From a safety point of view there should be some verifiable record of pills dispensed and removed. Maybe there could an electronic record and a some sort of paper record. Possibly a thermal printer, or perhaps something like ticker-tape wrapped around the delivery wheel with something to emboss timestamps. The pills could fall into a draw, and the opening and closing of the draw could also be recorded.

      Still I great project.

      1. Knowing if/when people take their pills is a holy grail that all the big companies are working on, but every option is either crazy expensive, expects the patient to jump through hoops, or both. The closest I’ve seen is custom blister packs in an automatic dispenser where popping a pill out breaks a trace built into the foil. It still doesn’t know if you took them though.

  2. The problem with many dispensers is that, like this one, they are open to the air around it. They need to be in closed container of some sort with airway leading to a chamber containing a desiccant. It’s important to remember that moisture in the air will interact with tablets and some capsules, usually resulting in making them sticky or goopy.

    1. Theyre really only going to run into issues with softgels. 99.9% of other pills will be fine for a week. Despite it not being perfectly sealed, there’s not much air flowing across the pills bringing new humidity. They’ll absorb some of what’s in their chamber, and that’s about it. Softgels can get sticky, but if you line anywhere the pills touch with Teflon tape, softgels dispense just fine.

    1. Look for a pharmacy that uses strip packs instead of vials. Each pack says what’s in it and when to take it. I hate to send business to Amazon (not just because they use a competitors machines), but they’re the easiest mail-order option. I’ve grown to absolutely hate vials.

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