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Nanoline 2014 - RoboDose

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2014 Walker Career Center Nanoline Team


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           The “Nano Consultants,” high school engineering students from the Walker Career Center of Indianapolis, Indiana, are proud to introduce the RoboDose.  The RoboDose is our solution to this year’s, Phoenix Contact, Nanoline automation-solution Competition. The contest presented us the opportunity to put to use our skills in design, engineering, and programming to solve a real world problem. The RoboDose uses an industry standard controller to automate the process of an everyday problem. We took the provided Phoenix Contact Nanoline PLC starter kit and their Nano-Navigator software and produced what we believe could be the answer to an everyday issue. Our team worked through numerous design sessions in order to arrive at this year’s solution. Our team of two boys and three girls made the decision to solve the problem of the elderly forgetting to take, remembering when to take, and trying to recall how many of each medication to take. Our device was designed to eliminate the need of weekly/daily pill organizers and caregivers having to individually dispense and monitor prescriptions we created a product that could safely and securely dispense the proper dosages, multiple times a day. The machine was designed to notify caregivers or family members if proper dosages were not taken in a timely manner.

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Many of us have an elderly person in our lives who is taking prescription medication. At one point, even many of us will reach an age or time when we can no longer remember much in our lives, especially fine details. We need to be able to give the elderly back some of their independence, and allow relatives to have peace of mind that their loved ones are taken care of. We designed this product for use by patients at hospitals, nursing homes, senior living facilities or even those elderly living independently at home.

We developed an automated system that would, once scheduled, be able to accurately distribute various medications and quantities, multiple times a day. RoboDose will notify the user through both audible and visual notifications when the proper dosage has been prepared and when it is time to take the dosage. For example, if the user had up to 6 separate pills in varying quantities to take at six in the morning, RoboDose would jump to life and begin to dispense their dosage.  Once prepared, RoboDose will sound an alarm and flash lights, informing the user that their medication is ready to be taken. If this dosage is not removed from the system for whatever reason, within a predetermined time range, the machine would then send an SMS text message to the caregiver from RoboDose, notifying them that the medication has not been taken. After a while longer, if the medication still has not been taken, the machine would then alert the caretaker and the family that the patient needs attention.

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To stay on track, we used a design process flowchart strategy from the University of Maryland. We used VEX components (vexrobotics.com) for structure and motion, alongside a variety of additional parts and equipment from Phoenix Contact (phoenixcontact.com) to control our machine.  In addition, we aggressively used a variety of third party sensors and controllers from companies such as Phidgets (phidgets.com) and Robot Shop (robotshop.com) to provide feedback and control of many internal operations of the machine, such as our RFID personal identifier. The exterior, hopper, and LED housings were created from acrylic parts designed by us and cut from our Universal Laser System. We designed our pill feeder system in Autodesk Inventor’s 3D modeling software and grew all of the prototypes and final designs in our classroom 3D Dimension printer. A portion of our costs were funded through the generosity of our sponsors which include: The Walker Career Center, Walgreens, Phidgets, Robot Shop, Office Max, and T-Mobile.

It is hard for us to put into words what this experience has done for us if you have not experienced it for yourself. We are excited to be able to have the opportunity to showcase our knowledge, hard work, and drive at the Hannover Fair. We are extremely thrilled that our hard work and lots of dedication (250+ hours of work each!!) ended in such a rewarding way.

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News Links

Design News

Phoenix Contact News Release

The Indianapolis "Weekly View"

Indiana House Resolution

WTHR News Broadast 

Warren Central Owl

Automation.com News Article

MSD Warren Township News Blog

Warren Central PTSA Shout-Outs

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Special thanks to our sponsers

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About us

Chris Hurd
Cazenovia High School

Jim Hanson
Walker Career Center

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