B A C
P i l l
S c r e e n e r

Duration 8 Weeks

The goal of this project was to develop a smart product that utilized a sensor in a new way that solved a current issue. 
For this project, I developed a pill dispenser that used an alcohol sensor to gain access to prescribed medicine, in order to deter people from abusing prescription drugs while under the influence of alcohol. 
 
Research / Ideation / Prototyping / Final
R e s e a r c h
Defining the Problem
Making headlines recently, the opioid crisis has risen exponentially in the past few years. I looked at recent studies regarding the topic of opioid abuse and the effect of substance misuse, especially when the substance is paired with alcohol. The opioid crisis is a huge problem for companies within the pharmaceutical industry, as they face more and more lawsuits and legal action with the rise of the crisis. 


Source: Christopher Ingraham from the Washington Post
Source: Christopher Ingraham from the Washington Post
Source: Elizabeth Ashton from the National Institute on Drug Abuse 2008
Source: Elizabeth Ashton from the National Institute on Drug Abuse 2008
Source: Nate Raymond and Mike Spector from Reuters
Source: Nate Raymond and Mike Spector from Reuters

Images Source: Google


M a r k e t
R e s e a r c h
Finding an Opportunity
A new opportunity for regulating pill intake could be to regulate the internal condition that the user is taking the pills in. 
The 2x2 on the left illustrates the current pill containers on the market. The x-axis is who the dispenser is for, whether that is someone addicted to pills or someone who takes pills regularly. The y-axis is what external or internal condition the pill container controls. The external condition is something that the user has no control over, such as time. Internal is what the user can control, such as alcohol level. 



Research / Ideation / Prototyping / Final
I d e a t i o n​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Initial Ideas
I started out sketching a few different concepts. I thought of the different ways pills are dispensed and tried to brainstorm different ways I could incorporate a alcohol sensor into it, while also trying to make the product as reusable as possible. I refined my idea down to a single dispenser that would house the pills within it.

Refining a Concept 
Final Concept
The alcohol sensor would be on top where the user would press a button and then blow into it to get a reading, if the reading was good it would dispense a pill in the bottom window of the dispenser. In order to refill the dispenser, the user would simply take it to the pharmacy to get it refilled. 
Research / Ideation / Prototyping / Final
P r o t o t y p e
Scale and Form
With a clear concept in mind, I created a rough model of the dispenser. This phase of the project had a lot of trial and error. My first prototype was just the circuit with the code running on it to ensure that everything was working properly.
Arduino Components
Arduino Components
Cardboard Prototype
Cardboard Prototype
Inside
Inside
After making sure the code and circuit were up and running, I built a rough cardboard model to test the interaction of the dispenser. I learned from this prototype that I needed to rethink the interaction between the user and the dispenser. I also had to reduce the size of the form and circuit.
U s e r 
T e s t i n g​​​​​​​

Key Insights
Once I built the first working prototype, I tested it on some of my peers. Without giving them any instructions on how to use it, I asked them to try it out. I learned from this experiment that I needed to have some way to let the user know that the dispenser is on and ready for a reading. Additionally, I needed to think about where to put the button and what would be a natural way for a user to blow into the device and hold the button. The size of the dispenser was also an issue, most people had to pick it up with two hands. My goal was to reduce the size of the form down, so the user would be able to use it with one hand. 

E l e c t r o n i c s​​​​​​​

Arduino Code
Arduino Code
Schematic
Schematic
Code + Schematic
Above is the code and schematic for the final. I pushed myself to learn more about writing code and building circuits for this project. This code turns an RGB LED on and changes color depending on the user's reading, it has a push button to initiate the alcohol sensor, an alcohol sensor to detect alcohol levels, and uses a servo motor to dispense pills. 
F i n a l 
M o d e l

Inner Compartments
Inner Compartments
Rendering with CMF
Rendering with CMF
Prototype Refinement
I developed my model using Fusion 360. I decided to 3D print my dispenser because it was the best way to clearly communicate the final form. The device has internal compartments to hold the electronics and pills. I created a door for the bottom of the device so that the user would be able to access the battery without being able to get to any of the other components. The materials for the final product would ideally be a durable thick plastic. The form is primarily opaque, however the inner compartment where the pills are stored is transparent so the user would be able to see when they need to get their prescription refilled. 
​​​​​​​
Research / Ideation / Prototyping / Final
F i n a l
Integrated Prototype
The final model was an integrated prototype that looked and functioned closely to the final product and housed all the electronics including the power source.
I n - U s e 
How it works?
The user turns on the dispenser on its side. A blue light comes on and can be seen at the top of the dispenser to indicate that it is on and ready to be used. The user then presses the button on the front of the device and blows into the top of it. If the user is sober, the device will show a green light and a servo will move a door which will dispense a pill into the window at the bottom of the device. If the user is under the influence of alcohol, the dispenser will show a red light and not dispense anything. 
Top view of the dispenser.
Top view of the dispenser.
In action!
In action!
On / Standby
On / Standby
Good
Good
Bad
Bad
D e t a i l s
Additional Features
Here are some up close photos to showcase some of the features of the dispenser. 
Here is the window where the pill falls
Here is the window where the pill falls
There are tamper proof locks at the top
There are tamper proof locks at the top
The dispenser on standby
The dispenser on standby
V i d e o
Illustrating the Use Case ​​​​​​​
Here is a video to illustrate the concept and use case of the pill dispenser. The video has two scenarios one with the pill dispenser and the other without it, to illustrate the severity of mixing opioids and alcohol and how easily it can be avoided. 
F i n a l 
T h o u g h t s
Going Forward 
This project pushed me to think and create out of my comfort zone. Through this process I was able to learn more about coding, building circuits, and creating a smart product. Going forward with this design, I want to see if I can reduce the size to make it more ergonomic and portable.  
A p p e n d i x
Here are some links to articles previously mentioned!
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/08/15/fentanyl-use-drove-drug-overdose-deaths-record-high-cdc-estimates/
https://www.addictioncenter.com/opiates/
https://archives.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2008/03/alcohol-abuse-makes-prescription-drug-abuse-more-likely
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-opioids-litigation/purdue-pharma-agrees-to-270-million-settlement-in-oklahoma-opioid-case-idUSKCN1R70CH
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