Salud Home Medicine Solution

Salud Home Medicine Solution Case Study

Background

The aging population has given rise to many new devices to help seniors remain independent and safely stay in their own homes. As part of an International Design Competition, Muriel Shields, a student at Arizona State University, under the guidance of Professor Dosun Shin, developed a design for an automatic medicine dispenser. The device would be installed in place of the existing water and ice dispenser on a refrigerator. The unit is designed to dispense pills for two users, and would emit both audio and visual signals, indicating when it is time for each user to take his or her medication.

Challenge

The goal was to design an automatic medication management device that would safely dispense the required pills to the seniors. In order to use this device, all medications would be ordered from the pharmacy so that they arrive in special bottles with a near field communication chip (NFC). Because the device supports two users, each person would have his or her own set of medications. The device allows for medications to be dispensed throughout the day, at preprogrammed times, by means of audio and visuals alarms to alert each person. The user interface on the device would prompt each person for a passcode so that the proper pills are dispensed for each individual, which is done by pulling forward on the lever and catching the pills in his or her hand.
 
Model Solution, a Laird company, became involved with the students in the design competition, and built the prototype model of the automatic medicine dispenser. Several complex issues were encountered during manufacturing. MS engineers and the ASU student worked together to meet the design requirements. Most importantly, the design featured removable parts, tactile buttons, and seven different areas that had to be lit with functional LEDs. This meant that the model design had to incorporate sufficient internal space to place the lights, and that the LEDs had to be securely affixed within the model.

Solution

Once the issues with the LED lights were resolved, a prototype of the automatic medicine dispenser was built. The process for developing the prototype model included internal design decisions, CNC machining, wet sanding and finishing of the dispenser, and final assembly, including installation and wiring of the LEDs. The automatic medicine dispenser was built from ABS, acrylic and aluminum.

Results

The SALUD Home Medicine Solution, designed as an in-home automatic medication management device, still functions as water and ice dispenser as well. The unit is designed to automatically send a digital signal to the user’s pharmacy when refills are needed.

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SALUD Home Medicine Solution Model with Functional LEDs
Made from ABS, acrylic and aluminum