After researching on several papers and pill dispenser projects, there are some user requirements being identified from those pill dispensers. Some features are common to all but some are specific to certain projects. The whole process of dispensing medicine consists of several basic steps and requirements.
First of all, the pills has to be unload from the packaging. The pills could be in a air tight package, blister pack, or bottle. The unloading process can be done manually or automatically. It is done automatically if there is an additional device to unload them from the packaging then load into the pill dispenser storage. This feature is not seen in most of the pill dispenser because there is not much work when done manually, except if it is in the form of blister pack.
Secondly, certain pills have to be cut into half or quarter according to doctor/pharmacist’s prescription. This can be done manually but it takes a lot of time and effort. Therefore it would be good if there is an additional feature in the pill dispenser to cut the pills before loading them into the storage compartment.
After the pills are ready, the right pill has to be dispensed with the right amount at the right time. There are a few options on how these actions can be carried out. These options are summarized in the Figures below.
For this project, not all of the requirements will be automated such as pill loading and pill cutting. The cost factor has to be considered as well because more mechanism means more components and thus higher cost and complexity. Human touch can never be lost in the process. Therefore, in this project, pill loading, cutting and sorting (probably) will be done manually and pill dispensing with alarm will be done automatically.
Note: Pill sorting requires careful monitoring and therefore great precision is needed if it is fully automated. However, the pills have to be filled into the right compartments and program has to be accurate as well. In order to save the hassle and complexity (and cost as well), it will be done by the caregiver, nurse or pharmacist.
1. Pill loading – done by pharmacist for accuracy
2. pill cutting – automated
3. pill sorting – automated (mechanical and program)
4. dispense pill – automated (program)
5. right time – alarm
6. right pill – automated (program)
7. right amount – automated (program)