3/15 - score: 8.5/10  Good, missing a week Which week?

2/22 - score: 8.5/10  Good work, but there seems to be a missing week in there (2/21?)  If possible, try to update this after each class period.  Good progress on your project, but i’m worried about the pace... i suspect you will have to move ahead significantly faster if you hope to finish by late May.  i firmly believe you can do this - don’t forget to ask for help when you get stuck

2/1 - score: 9/10  good continuation of your work.  There’s one journal photo that is a little blurry (i can't read very well) - you may want to take it again.  again, a very ambitious project.  Don’t forget to ask for help when you need it!

1/19/13 - score: 9/10  Good start! a summary of your proposal should go here as well.  A very ambitious project, but i think you can do it

Applied Science Online Design Journal

Title: Internal Medication Dispensing Device

Description: A device that can dispense medication to a patient internally. The device could be controlled by a microcontroller and dispense medication at set intervals or it could be triggered by something and not require any electronics. The device will need to be reloadable, and be able to alert the patient that it is in need of being reloaded. I would like to make the device have wi-fi so you can check any and all important information at any time. I would also like to make the device be refillable with minimal training.

Proposal: (Not completely finished, I’m redoing it.)

Please answer the following questions as best you can, with the understanding that the plan may change as your work progresses.  Use as much space as you need and include any important documents.  Most proposals are 3-5 pages.


1.         Briefly describe your proposed work.

          (What will you do to learn, investigate, create, design, build, produce, etc.?)


I want to create a device that can be surgically put in a patient and dispense medication at set intervals, as well as communicate (using wi-fi) to a nearby computer to give the patient and doctor updates on the device (any problems, battery level, flow rate, amount of medication remaining, etc.). If possible, I would like to not make the device out of metal, but find some other material that would work but be more malleable and safer in the body. I plan on doing some investigation on catheters and how to prevent them from kinking, since the most logical method of getting medication to the desired location seems to be using a catheter. I would also like to make it refillable by a minimally trained professional, as to require fewer hospital visits.


2.         What is the significance of your project to you?

          (Why are you interested in the project and what makes this project worth doing?)


I am interested in medicine, and it seems like it would be extremely inconvenient to have to need some device put in me for whatever reason. I would like to improve on these medication-dispensing devices and make them be easier for patients who need them.


3.         Outline the process that you envision yourself going through for your project, from the beginning to the end.  Include as much detail as possible.


I will start out by looking into a way to either lessen the risk of catheters kinking, or a way to sense whether or not the catheter is kinked. From this, I plan to make the device, starting with having it dispense medication at set intervals and then adding the self-monitoring and wi-fi aspects. If I have time after this, I would like to look into using some kind of material around the device that is safer than metal.


4.         Based on the outline of the previous section, what are your equipment/supplies needs?  Please include a rough materials cost estimate.


I will need a microcontroller (ideally, a small one), some kind of wi-fi shield for the microcontroller, a catheter or plastic tube, some kind of storage space for the medication, and something that measures and dispenses the medication. I will also need 1-2: flow rate sensors, pressure sensors. I think I could either do a crude and cheap prototype and/or I could make a more complex and much more expensive version of the device.


5.     What are your mentoring needs?  What knowledge/experience would an ideal mentor for you project possess?  Do you have anyone specific in mind?


I don’t have anyone specific in mind for a mentor, however having a mentor who is a doctor and has experience with the current medication-dispensing devices would be extremely helpful since I could learn what problems occur during surgery and afterwards from the perspective of a doctor. It would also be useful to talk to someone who has this kind of device and find out what is most frustrating and inconvenient about living with these devices.


6.          How will you specifically incorporate science and engineering into your project?


I will incorporate engineer into my project by engineering the device. I will be improving an existing device, and engineering new ways to make it safer and more convenient. I would incorporate science by looking into ways to minimize kinking in catheters and making it safer for the human body and easier to live with.


7.          Describe ways that the results of your project efforts might benefit others?


The results of my project could, potentially, benefit anyone and everyone who requires a device that dispenses medication to a specific location in their body. This could include everything from people with type I diabetes (in which their pancreas is not producing insulin and they need an insulin pump) to people who need medication dispensed directly into their spine to minimize the dosage and maximize the effects (there are various reasons this may be needed). The only drawback is for this device to be truly beneficial would require it to be FDA approved, which is a long process and requires a lot of testing I will not have the time or resources to do.


8.          At the completion of this project, what do you expect to have learned?


I expect to have learned about how internal medicating devices are implanted, how they work, and what it is like to live with one. I expect to know more about anatomy and how to give specific parts of the anatomy medication with minimal risks.


January 18, 2013

I think I will make a device that can store and dispense medication, with a method for reloading. I am also considering looking into making a pill coating that can delay the release of the medication for varying amounts of times. I have a basic idea for a design for the device. I am looking into finding a small microcontroller, though if I need to I can just make the prototype bigger than it would need to be to be used. I have found a small one, but I’m not sure if it does what I would need it to do though it does say it is used in medical applications so it may be good (http://www.nxp.com/products/microcontrollers/arm7/). I’m not entirely sure how to get it power if it was in the body, and ideally I would like the microcontroller to be able to communicate wirelessly. Though to make this device to be worth using, it would have to release medication in response to your body, be able to produce the medication, and be put in the body  non-invasively (I won’t be able to do make the device do that though). However I could also make it without a microcontroller such that things bound to where the medication was released would either trigger some medication to release or stop releasing, this way no battery or microcontroller would be required.

I actually just read something about a device used for children with cerebal palsy that is implanted in the spine, and can be refilled and will beep when it needs to be reloaded, the battery is low, or something is wrong with it (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/specialty_areas/pediatric_neurosurgery/conditions/cerebral_palsy.html). I will definitely do more research on this to find out how it works.

January 25, 2012

I think I am going to make this device be more general, as in just make it for any kind of medication so it can be used in more important ways than allergies. It could be very beneficial for patients who need medication dispensed and exact intervals, every few hours, who forget important medications regularly, etc. So making it more general would give it more potential benefits.

I have done more research on a device of a similar nature. Medtronic makes synchronized, programmable pumps that are refillable. The device seems to last about 6-7 years, however it must be refilled by a trained professional. Implanting pump. Refilling pump. Patient Manual. Basically, there a catheter is connected to a pump, so that the catheter can put the medication where it is needed and the pump and control the catheter and is close enough to the skin that it can be refilled. A needle is used to refill, directly through the skin.

I would like to make my device in a way that it is easier to refill, monitor, and has fewer risks in problems. The main things I, at this point, would like to focus on are being able to improve the catheter by reducing of and making it easier to determine the presence of kinks as well as finding a way to make the device consist of less metal and be made of something softer or more malleable than metal (something more like an organ than like a metal device). Study on kinking catheters. It seems whether or not a kink results in a pressure difference depends on the type of catheter.

February 1, 2013

Types of catheters used in Medtronic's device: I got some tubing to use for my first prototype, but it is bigger and thicker (in diameter, inside and outside) and thus stiffer (probably kinds less, etc.) than normal catheters. Also water does not flow through the tubing very well, so at some point it would be nice to get some actual catheters (I was testing it a small syringe and I had to make the small amount of water in the tubing go out of it, instead of it flowing out which is what needs to happen.)

(Possible flow rate sensor if needed: Hydac flow sensor, Flow sensor IIb/flow sensor IIb, count drips, also can just measure how long it takes to get into an area with a specific volume and calculate (Details: measurement methods)).

I’m working on figuring out how to get the medication into and through the catheter to the desired location, preferably not something that relies on gravity (this type of device is often put in the abdominal cavity with the catheter going to the spine or the brain). Counting drips would require gravity. I want to see if I can make something similar to a syringe that is refillable mechanically (perhaps by adding a one way valve to part of the syringe, with a motor controlling how much liquid is entering the syringe and when it is released). However it may be that the medication needs to be dispensed slowly, like it is in IV’s.

February 8, 2012

Based on this patent (Bulkhead for implantable infusion devices, patent # 6572583) some of the implantable drug infusion devices use a peristaltic pump. In a peristaltic pump the fluid does not come in contact with components of the pump other than the tubing which minimizes contamination. I’m trying to figure out how other pumps work to determine if I think this is the best option for my device. I did find a type of osmotic pump that was intriguing, it uses osmotic pressure to dispense its contents at a fixed rate, however they do not last long (the longest one I found lasted 6 weeks and they are not refillable) and thus would probably be impossible since constant replacement is not realistic (the surgical implantation of the pump would create scar tissue, and it would not be safe to implant another pump in the same place).

February 14, 2013

I’m working on programming an arduino so I that I can calculate how much battery is left. It seems like I need to divide the voltage, record the current voltage and map that number, between 0 and 1023, to a 0 to 100 scale. I think I’d need to know the voltage at full charge and when it stops working to map it to do the 0 to 100 scale, but I’m not sure. (Example code). For a 9 V battery I need a 40 kohm and 50 kohm resistor, or something with the same ratio. I’m going to use 12 kohm and 15 kohm resistors. I found someone else who did this and the code seems to work well: fritzing voltage divider. (I’ll try to work this code into my other code and make it work better).

The code I think works is mostly from the fritzing voltage divider, with a few extra calculations and things printed:

void setup() { Serial.begin(9600); }

void loop() { int sensorValue = analogRead(A0);

float volts = sensorValue/66.2;

float percent = map(volts, 0, 9, 0, 100);

Serial.print("V:  ");


Serial.print(" %: ");



I want to make the arduino communicate with a computer over wi-fi or something and I’d like to make a program that helps the patient monitor battery level, amount of medication remaining, dosage of medication, and perhaps general information and/or reminders to possible side effects / malfunctions and when they need to get their pump refilled. Ideally, the device will collect information and only send it to a computer only when the computer asks for the information (for example when the program is opened and a button is pressed to update information or something like that). (I don’t know if this is done automatically or not...).

(Feburaty 22, 2013??)

March 1, 2013

I got a peristaltic pump and got it to work. I will need a MOFET to  attach the pump to an arduino (Source connected to 12 volts, Drain connected to the motor, the ground (?) connected to a digital pin) and a 12 V battery/power source. For now I want to put a button on the arduino that turns the motor on/off. I am also working on code for a speaker that will beep when a button is pressed and for about 15 seconds afterwards (which will hopefully be translated into beeping caused my a malfunction signal).

I have the power source and motor hooked up so as soon as i get a MOFET thing I can attach it to the arduino and add a button to turn the motor on and off.

I am working on wiring up my arduino for the motor, battery monitoring, and speaker things so I can get all of those working.

I have the pump working with the arduino, using a Darlington Transistor (TIP120). It seems to only suck up water when it is at a high rpm and not at a low rpm. (See bottom, with the rest of the codes, for the code I used to test this).

March 8 & 13, 2013

        I’ve been working on my poster. (See below for image)

I have also been thinking about how to determine the level of liquid that is in the storage area. If I have two wires (one positive, one negative) next to each other but not touching, they will conduct electricity if both are in contact with the wire. In theory, the more water in contact with the wire the more voltage will go through the wire. I tested this using a multimeter, and it seemed to be true. I used my pump, and as the water level decreased so did the voltage. I will test this again to make sure I can replicate the results. There are  lot of ways I could use this to determine how much fluid is in the storage container, to varying degrees of accuracy. One option is multiple sets of wires, another is perhaps having one set of wire wrap around the inside edge of the storage device. I will also look into other ways to determine how much fluid there is before I decide to use this for sure. Ideally, if there was some kind of material that had similar properties (like it conducted varying amounts of electricity depending on how much fluid it was in contact with) that I could like the inside of my device with, that would be ideal. However, I doubt there is something that does that.


April 5, 2013

I am working on figuring out how to measure the amount of medication left. I may have to assume that the medication conducts electricity. I am thinking of using the two charged wires (as mentioned in the last entry), and wrapping them both around the outside of the storage part of the device. I’m not sure this will work, and I am not sure how to hold the wires in place. I was thinking taking a piece of fabric in the shape of the storage area of my prototype and attaching the wires to that. I need to try this out, see how well it works, and figure out how to calculate the level of water based on the voltage reading this provides. I could also use capacitance plates, however it seems to me that getting accurate readings at any given orientation of the device will be complicated...

Once I get an accurate measurement of the fluid working, I should be able to make a program that can adjust the speed of the pump such that the patient will get the right amount of medication without having to worry about changes in flow rate (based on the calculated difference and the actual difference in medication level).

April 12, 2013

I found some wires that are covered with some kind of plastic and twisted around         each other. I found that I can cut away the plastic on the outside, leaving the plastic that is between the wires, thus allowing the wires to be a consistent distance apart without touching. It also helps keep the wires stiffer, which will be useful. I tested to make sure the voltage reading still varied when different amounts of water are in contact with the exposed wire, and it still works. I’m now working on getting all the plastic off of a longer piece of wire (cutting as little of the wire a possible). When I have that done, I will record what voltage readings I get with various (known) amounts of water in a container, with the wire wrapped around the edges. I think I will need to have the same amount of wire on each side, so I’ll probably start using a cube-like container. I need to figure out how I am going to keep the wire in position, since I don’t want the wires to shift when the container moves around. I could build some kind of frame for the outside so that it doesn't cover much wire but it holds the wire in place (I might be able to 3D print this). This would work well if it was not rotating (or only sitting in a few different positions) or if the frame surrounded some parts of the wire completely or maybe just varied what position (above, below, to the side of the wire) it was in.

The wire (you can see what it looked like before, on the left, and after, on the right).

April 19, 2012

Working on designing model in solidworks...I realized to actually print it I will have to make it in two parts, so I might as well make it so you can open and close it and see what it looks like on the inside. I’m having a bit of trouble with solidworks...

April 26, 2012

I figured out how to do what I needed to do in solidworks, and printed it out. I will probably get things to represent the battery, microcontroller, pump, and catheter so that it is really clear what it would look like.


This is what it looks like with nothing in it and with something going through the hole (the only thing I could find that fit was the wire for another part of my project).

May 3, 2013

Set up the circuit for the water level measuring part of my device, and I’m working on the coding for it.

I’ve also been working on an updated version of my poster. I’ll put an image of that up soon.

May 10, 2012

        Finished Poster:

I also found something to use as a catheter instead of the wire for the liquid measurement part of my device. I used an old cord, wires covered in plastic, and just cut it up. I may try to get the wire out of the plastic as well.

May 17, 2013

Finishing up everything, making sure everything works right and getting it ready for the Makers Faire. I have to finish combining some coding as well.

I was finally able to test my water level measurement prototype and it is really finicky, you have to wait and leave it alone for awhile for it to stabilize at a certain reading and even then it usually varies within a range of 3 or so values. If you leave it alone long enough, the values start going down.

As you can see in the poster on the bottom of the previous page, I got a basic prototype for the device completed with the liquid measurement aspect separate. I have a model that show the approximate size and shape of what the actual device would look like.

Pump Speed Control (turns pump on and off gradually):

int buttonPin;

int pumpPin=10;

void setup() {

  pinMode(pumpPin, OUTPUT);


void loop() {


 for(int i=0; i<=255; i++) {

   analogWrite(pumpPin, i);






 for(int i=255; i>=0; i--) {

   analogWrite(pumpPin, i);







Battery Level Code:

int batteryPin=A0;

int voltageReading=0;

void setup() {


  pinMode(batteryPin, INPUT);


void loop() {

  voltageReading = analogRead(batteryPin);


  //calculate the total voltage...66.2 maybe wrong

  float voltage = voltageReading/66.2;


  float percentBattery = map(voltage, 0, 1023, 0, 100);

  Serial.print("Reding: ");


  Serial.print("Voltage Calc: ");


  Serial.print("    Percent Battery: ");

  Serial.print(percentBattery); //Prints the value

  Serial.println(" %");


Combined Speed Controller & Voltage Divider Code: 

Liquid Measurement Code:

int waterLevelPin=A0;

float voltReading;

void setup() {


                  pinMode(waterLevelPin, INPUT);


void loop() {

          voltReading = analogRead(waterLevelPin);


                 Serial.print("Voltage: ");


                 Serial.println("  ");