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Automated Medication Dispensing Device. RERC on Accessible Medical Instrumentation Competition 2005-2006. Team 6: Eva Marie Suarez Kevin Villani Jacquelyn Masse. Objectives. Client Needs Existing devices and Patents Device features Design Timeline Budget. Client Needs.

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automated medication dispensing device

Automated Medication Dispensing Device

RERC on Accessible Medical Instrumentation Competition 2005-2006

Team 6:

Eva Marie Suarez

Kevin Villani

Jacquelyn Masse

  • Client Needs
  • Existing devices and Patents
  • Device features
  • Design
  • Timeline
  • Budget
client needs
Client Needs
  • Large number of medications
  • Poor eyesight
  • Lack of fine motor control
  • Limited mobility
  • Segmentation
  • Medication Dispenser for Dispensing Flat Dosage Forms (6,527,138)
  • Tamper Resistant Programmable Medicine Dispenser (6,163,736)
  • Timed Medicine Dispenser (4,207,992)
  • Medicine Dispenser (5,947,329)
  • Medicine Dispensing Device (5,454,793)
  • Gravity Feeding Pill Medicine Dispenser (4,638,923)
general themes
General Themes
  • Pills must be pre-separated (time consuming loading process)
  • Accuracy is not verified frequently
  • No cutting device
  • Difficult to extract dispensed medication from apparatus
  • Costly
device features
Device features
  • Automatically Cuts Pills
  • No Hard-To-Read Labels
  • Keeps Pills Organized
  • Alarm Reminder
  • Automatically Dispenses Dosage

Basic overview

basic elements
Basic Elements
  • Device components
    • Case
    • Robotic arm with vacuum assembly
    • Cutter assembly
    • Storage assembly
    • Data flow
    • User input
user input
User Input
  • User interface
    • PDA
    • Keyboard
    • Barcode Scanner
  • Functions
    • Add pills
      • Compartment #
      • # of pills
      • Expiration date
    • Set dosage
      • # pills per dose
      • Times to take
MedTime: The Medtime product is essentially a rotating disk that contains several compartments in which the pills are separated into to create the appropriate dosage. The MedTime device also contains a timer and an alarm which can be programmed to sound when the medication must be taken. Once this alarm goes off, the disk rotates to reveal the next dosage to be taken. The client then turns the product over so the pills fall into his/her hand. If a dosage is missed then the disk will continue to rotate so that the next dosage becomes available. The advantage of this device is that it is portable, so it can be taken with the client at all times. This product is also one of the least expensive medication dispensing devices at $232.95. The disadvantages of this product are its time consuming loading requirement, the lack of a cutting device, and minimal security. To load the device all the dosages must be pre-separated which will require the effort of a caretaker in most cases. The dispensing mechanism of the device is also inadequate for many elderly, since it requires one to tip the device over to expel the dosage. Not only is the method of dispensing not safe if there are children present since it is accessible to anyone, but it also provides the opportunity for the medication to fall on the ground easily. Those in a wheelchair would not be able to pick up the medication if it fell on the ground as well as those with poor vision.
  • MD2: The MD2 is a more sophisticated medication dispensing device than the MedTime. This product contains the same feature of a timed dispensing mechanism with an alarm to alert the client. The dosage is expelled in a small plastic container once the release button is pushed by the user which also turns off the alarm. When a dosage is released any medication instructions that was programmed into the device is then given orally, such as ‘take with food’. If a dosage is missed the device can call up to four individuals to alert them that a dose was not taken. The advantages of this device is that it alerts another individual of a missed dose rather than moving onto the next one, so the probability of a dosage not being taken is relatively small. Clients that forget to take their medication are also likely to forget the instructions or each medication, an error in consumption of the pills is prevented with this device via the oral instructions. The disadvantage of this product is mainly its cost. The dispenser costs $919.95 plus an additional $38.95 per month for the calling feature. The product also does not have a cutter and has minimal security since the dispensing of the medication is controlled by the push of a button, which can be done by any individual in the household including small children. Dispensing the dosage in a small container also requires the assistance of a caretaker to prepare. Opening this container once dispensed may also prove difficult for some individuals with limited mobility and poor vision.
  • CompuMed: The CompuMed shares some similarities with both the MedTime and the MD2. This device alerts the user that a dosage needs to be taken via an alarm. The dosage is deposited into a small drawer located on the front of the device. If a dosage is missed the drawer is withdrawn and the dosage is sent to another compartment. The machine keeps track of how many doses were missed but does not alert any caretaker as the MD2 does. It will also provide the medication instructions on the LCD screen when a dosage is dispensed as the MD2. The CompuMed has a higher level of security than the other two devices. Although the dosage is deposited into a drawer where others can access it, the rest of the medication stored in the product is locked inside with a key. This key is also needed to change the programming of the device and thus prevents any tampering that may otherwise occur. The main advantages of this device are its enhanced security, and lower cost when compared to the MD2. The CompuMed costs approximately $1045.00, but does not have any additional monthly fees. The disadvantage of this product is that the medication is loaded into cartridges which is a time consuming process and limits the amount of medication that can dispensed. The cartridges need to be changed weekly and are only capable of dispensing up to four dosages per day. This device also lacks a cutting mechanism and dispenses the medication into a drawer which may be difficult to extract from the small drawer for some individuals.


  • Medication Dispenser for Dispensing Flat Dosage Forms (6,527,138): This device is designed specifically for flat mediations that come on a roll similar to that of a stamp roll. The device then advances the roll when the next medication needs to be taken. The dispensing mechanism can be either manual activated, mechanical or automated. The machine also has the capability to record the number of doses dispensed.
  • Tamper Resistant Programmable Medicine Dispenser (6,163,736): This device prevents unauthorized movement of the indexing assembler to prevent untimely access to medications. It is a small and portable product, but requires the medications to be separated into the appropriate dosages beforehand.
  • Medicine Dispenser (5,947,329): This product also provides a security feature against unauthorized access to the medication by storing the medication in sealed containers that require deliberate steps to get the medication dispensed. This device is completely mechanical and includes a counter to track the dosages dispensed.
  • Timed Medicine Dispenser (4,207,992): As the title suggests, this a timed dispenser which alerts the patient when the medication needs to be taken. The pills need to be pre-separated into the correct dosages as with several of the other devices.
  • Medicine Dispensing Device (5,454,793): This device is made specifically for liquid medications. It dispenses metered quantities from an ampoule and can easily return to its original state.
  • Gravity Feeding Pill Medicine Dispenser (4,638,923): This is the only device that dispenses the medication from the container provided by the pharmacy. It uses gravity to release the pills from the container. It is economical and easy to use, but does not contain a system to verify that the pills were extracted from the container correctly.
design two
Design Two



Robotic Arm

vacuum fan requirements
Vacuum Fan Requirements
  • P = F/A
  • F =mg
  • A= πr2
  • Therefore,
  • P= mg/ πr2
  • (Equations)

e-pill Medication Reminders, Wellesley, MA, 2005.

Lynxmotion LLC., Pekin, IL, 2004.

National Instruments Corporation, Austin, TX, 2005.

Parallax Inc., Rocklin, California, 2002-2004.