PillStorage Fits All

By Sjoerd Simmerman and Rutger Oomkes - Creative Care Lab

We are working on a pill box for a woman who suffers from epilepsy. She has to take several pills everyday and also uses a sachet of powder in case of an attack. The storage system that she was using for her medication, wasn't practical since the sachets couldn't be stored inside the box. The woman approached Waag for help. But as she isn't the only patient using a pill box, we decided to create a parametric design to create easier-to-use pill boxes for every patient and their specific needs.  

As we started exploring the world of pill boxes, we found that they were well designed visually. For example, different days have different colours. We started designing a half circle-shaped wall mount design which had several aspects of other designs. At first, we struggled with some software issues to make the design parametric. After fixing, we asked for feedback with the woman. She told us that she didn’t use her fingers to get the pills out of the box, but just poured them into her mouth. This was very local and useful feedback, we immediately went back to the drawing board.

We then created an adaptation which has a slider as a lid. The design was completely parametric, which means that all variables are customizable to the specific needs of the patient. The text on the side of the box was also changeable, but it was quite difficult to do so. A user of our system had to adjust four parameters to be able to place the text on a different side of the pill box. After some struggle, we found a plug-in that allowed us to create a file in Excel, which could then be converted to our CAD-software. Now, we were able to change the text on the side of the pill box by simply answering a closed question, instead of having the user change different parameters within the design.

We created some samples of the pill box and arranged a meeting with the owner of the project. She was very enthusiastic, which was inspiring and motivating for us. To make someone happy with something you put a lot of effort in, is one of the most beautiful things of design. After the woman started using our pill box, we came up with even more things to implement in the design, like grips and colour contrast. 

We are still working on the project and you can follow it here.