After developing the “tray” portion of Medicrate which houses the user’s medication and/or health supplements (more info about this can be found in my previous blog post), the next step in continuing the development of the product was designing the form of the control unit and outer casing.
I first started with the development of the control unit, this part of the product needs to act as a strong base for the docking of the medication tray and encase all the electrical components which are required to make Medicrate operational, all while taking up as little space as possible. To begin this task, I first separated the design of this portion of the product into 3 areas:
· The motor area
· Dispensing area
· The Controls
The motor area was the first part I tackled. It is responsible for holding the stepper motor in place and has to ensure that the tray can be inserted onto the stepper motor with ease. To make this task easier, I designed a cover which fully conceals the motor and has ridges on its surface to help guide the tray in place.
Next, I moved onto the dispensing area, this portion of the control unit is where the medication falls into after the tray is rotated/actuated. To ensure that the opening for the medication tray aligns up with the opening of the dispensing area I added a notch which correctly lines up the two components. This notch could also be used house different electronic components which could detect that the medication has been dispensed (like a limit switch or a hall sensor). The dispensing area also has a space for an led which will be used as a notification to signify that medication has been dispensed. The area mirroring the dispensing area will house a portable container which the user can remove and use to store medication if they are not going to be at home when they need to consume their medication.
Finally, I went on to design the control unit facade which makes houses most of the electronic components of the product (I will go into more detail about the electronics in a future blog post). These electronic components will also allow the user to interact with the product by navigating Medicrate’s menu system using a display, 3 buttons and a fingerprint scanner on the surface of the facade.
After completing the all the parts which make up the control unit of Medicrate, I finally designed the products casing. This component is simply a sleeve which connects to the products control unit, securing the tray in place. This casing also gives Medicrate a clean polished look while keeping the medication tray out of sight.
From all these digital models, I will next go on to creating and refining all the physical components that make up the product using different digital fabrication techniques. To find out more about this and the rest of my design process then check out my other blog posts.