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Insightfil

High Throughput Pill Dispensing Robot

Case Study

High Throughput Pill Dispensing Robot

The Problem

In hospitals, hundreds of patients require unique medications, sorted manually and consolidated into patient-specific cups. Errors in this process result in patients receiving inaccurate medications. This presents an extremely high risk to patients, many of whom are already in critical condition. Insighfil seeks to address this need with an automated process that improves accuracy.

The Solution

Smithwise collaborated with Insightfil on a Phase I SBIR grant to design and build a high-throughput pill-dispensing robot intended for in-hospital pharmacies.

One of the key technical challenges was to develop a mechanism and control system that dropped pills from a batch container into a moving pill tray quickly and accurately.

The resulting drops had to be controlled enough to prevent bouncing or damage when the pills hit their target. Smithwise developed rapid proof of concept breadboards, using 3D printed parts and a hand drill, to evaluate concepts before designing a multipill, conveyor-based machine.

With final prototype assembled, the Smithwise engineering team developed a control system and ran several trial runs. After optimizing for speed and accuracy, the team was able to exceed grant objectives on both fronts.

The prototype exceeded goals for speed and accuracy and helped our client secure Phase II funding from the National Institutes of Health .

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