US 20040089581 A1
A pill container for holding pills, other medication, caplets, vitamins or nutritional supplements is provided. The container may be comprised of a container with multiple closable compartments. Each compartment can be closed with a lid that is hingeably attached to the compartment. In one aspect of the device, the lid has a fastener that engages with a nub on the compartment. The compartments of the container are designed with a deformable surface that releases the nub from the fastener to spring open the lid. In another aspect of the invention, the container has legs that provides it stability to rest on a flat surface. In another aspect of the invention, the bottom surface of the container's compartments are bowl shaped to allow the items stored within to be easily scooped out.
1. A container, comprising:
at least one compartment each of said at least one compartment comprising:
an anterior wall;
a bottom surface;
a nub located on a deformable portion of said anterior wall;
at least one hingeably attached to each of said at least one compartment, wherein said least one hingeably attached lid has at least a first position and a second position, wherein said at least one compartment is closed when said least one hingeably attached lid is in said first position and said at least one compartment is open when said least one hingeably attached lid is in said second position; and
a fastener coupled to said least one hingeably attached lid, said fastener engaging said nub when said least one hingeably attached lid is in said first position and wherein said fastener is disengaged from said nub when said least one hingeably attached lid is in said second position, wherein deformation of said deformable portion disengages said nub from said fastener.
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8. A container comprising:
a plurality of open-faced compartments, wherein said plurality of open-faced compartments are separated by at least one internal divider, and wherein each of said plurality of open-faced compartments comprising:
an anterior side;
a posterior side;
a bottom surface wherein said bottom surface is bowl shaped;
supporting structures coupled to the bottom of the housing;
at least one pivoting lid that is hingeably attached to the posterior side of each of said plurality of open-faced compartments, wherein each of at least on pivoting lid has at least a first position and a second position, wherein said plurality of open-faced compartments are closed when said at least one pivoting lid is in said first position and said plurality of open-faced compartments are open when said at least one pivoting lid is in said second position and wherein said at least one pivoting lid is biased towards said second position where said at least one pivoting lid is open;
a fastener coupled to said at least one pivoting lid;
a nub located on a deformable portion of said anterior side, said fastener engaging said nub when said at least one pivoting lid is in said first position and wherein said fastener is disengaged from said nub when said at least one pivoting lid is in said second position, said at least one pivoting lid is constructed to fit on top of said plurality of open-faced compartments, wherein said anterior side of said plurality of open-faced compartment is a slightly deformable bulbous surface such that application of a force normal to the bulbous surface when the lid is in said first position, deforms the deformable bulbous surface pushing the nub inward thereby allowing the biasing hinge to release its tension thus allowing the lid to move into said second position.
 There are a number of different types of pill containers, dispensers and carriers for storing pills. In many of these containers a user opens a lid, cover or equivalent structure to reveal a compartment that holds the pills. The patient can take out the pills by cupping his/her hand over the compartment and turning the container upside down and allowing the pills to drop into the cupped hand. Pill containers having seven compartments (one for each day of the week), each of which may be individually accessed through an individual door, are well known. Some containers are labeled with the days of the week. It is also common to put other symbols or numbers on the container lids (e.g., Braille notations).
 Pill containers having individual compartments for holding several pills usually have a closed cover that can be opened by prying open the cover with the tip of a finger or finger nail. The cover is put back into place by pushing it down onto the compartment and hearing a snapping sound indicating that the lid has been secured. Accessing the pill-containing compartment by prying open the lid can sometimes be difficult for some users who have physical infirmities or limitations. It becomes necessary to use one hand to hold the container while a finger nail or finger tip of the other hand acts as a wedge to flip open the lid. Thus, one disadvantage inherent in the prior pill containers relates to the manual dexterity needed to operate them. Many users, some of which have acute restrictions, require a pill container that can be operated with limited manual manipulation and preferably opened with one hand.
 In general, an inexpensive pill container that is easily manufactured and able to be used by the frail or elderly is needed.
 One of the objects of the subject invention is to provide a pill container with a lid adapted for easy opening. Upon the application of slight pressure to the front side of the desired compartment, a user is able to pop open the compartment in a way that is unique in the art. Opening one or multiple compartments of the pill container (assuming the pill container includes multiple compartments) to access the materials contained within it quickly and easily can be accomplished by the present invention. In one embodiment a multiple compartmented pill container has lid covers that spring open when the anterior wall is slightly depressed.
 Another object of the pill container is the use of housing covers or lids which pivot around a hinging element to provide single or multiple compartment access to the user.
 Yet another object of an embodiment of the pill container is to provide easy scooping of the pills stored within the compartment. Prior art pill containers have generally cube-shaped compartments, thus the bottom face is square shaped. In another embodiment of the present invention, the bottom side is preferably bowl-shaped to facilitate easy removal of the pill by using a finger to ‘scoop’ the pill up along the anterior wall of the compartment.
 Another object of the pill container is the use of a transparent lid to allow the user to see into the pill compartment to determine if pills are contained within.
 These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent to those familiar with different types and designs of pill containers and pill dispensers when reviewing the following detailed description, showing novel construction, combination, and elements as herein described, and more particularly defined by the claims, it being understood that changes in the embodiments to the herein disclosed invention are meant to be included as coming within the scope of the claims, except insofar as they may be precluded by the prior art.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the container with each lid in the closed position.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the container with lid completely open.
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the container with the lid completely closed.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the container with the fastener not engaged.
FIG. 5 shows a view of the fastening mechanism in the engaged position.
FIG. 6 is an expanded illustration of the engaging nub fastener and the nub of a compartment.
FIG. 7 is a top-side view of an embodiment of the container with two compartments open and a third closed.
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the container with one compartment open and two adjoining compartments closed.
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment of the container showing the closed lid to have a slightly raised top surface.
 In the following description, terms such as horizontal, upright, vertical, above, below, beneath, and the like are used solely for the purpose of clarity in illustrating the invention, and should not be taken as words of limitation. The drawings are for the purpose of illustrating the invention and are not intended to be to scale.
 It should be understood that the term “pill” as used herein refers to pills, tablets, suppositories, caplets, vitamins, or any other medication or dietary supplement that is taken in a solid form.
FIG. 1 shows an illustration of an embodiment of the invention. Pill container 100 generally comprises main body 105 and pivotally hinged covers 110. Main body 105 includes an open faced housing with one or more compartments 117. In a preferred embodiment main body 105 has least two stabilizing elements 130 for stability when container 100 is resting on a surface. In yet another preferred embodiment the anterior wall or front side 116 of each compartment 117 comprises nub 115 which interacts with nub fastener 120, located on the anterior part of corresponding lid 110, to close the compartment. Deformable surface 125 is located centrally on surface 116 of each compartment 117.
 Pill container 100 can be made of any variety of materials. For example, preferably the container is made of a plastic (e.g. thermoplastic, thermosetting plastic, etc.) or other polymeric material although other materials can also be used (e.g. elastomers, metals etc.).
 In one embodiment, each compartment 117 has an approximately square or rectangular cross-section and a curved bottom. For example, as shown in the cross-section illustrated in FIG. 2, the curved portion 235 gives compartment 117 the desired curved bottom surface thus allowing a user to easily scoop items (e.g., pills) from the compartment. Because of the curved or bowl-like anterior portion of the bottom surface, the pill container may tip over. Supporting structure 130 provides stabilizing support so that the pill container can rest evenly on a flat surface. In a preferred embodiment the supporting structure 130 runs like a strip along either end of pill container 100. In another embodiment the base may be provided by pegs. In another alternate embodiment the bowl-like shape of the open-faced compartment can be cuboidal, triangular, rhomboidal, octagonal or even irregularly shaped.
 FIGS. 3-6 illustrate a preferred embodiment of the lid fastening system. The lid member 110 of each compartment 117 is connected to the compartment by a hinge, screw, spring or other pivoting means 250 attached to the posterior wall of the compartment as illustrated in FIG. 3. Preferably the lid fastening system is comprised of a nub 115, extending from a front face 116 of compartment 117, and a nub fastening portion 120, extending from hingeably coupled lid 110. Nub 115 engages fastener 120 thus closing compartment 117. Hinge member 250 along with lid member 110 is biased towards the open position, as shown in FIG. 4, and is thus in tension when the lid is closed as in FIG. 3.
 As shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, application of a moderate amount of force 201 normal to deformable surface 125 (as shown) causes surface 125 to deform towards the interior of compartment 117. As a result, nub 115 is disengaged from nub fastener 120, thus springing cover 110 upwards as the tension from biased hinge 250 is released. In the preferred embodiment the amount of pressure needed to disengage the fastener from the nub is not to exceed the amount that a typical person who is suffering from a lack of strength (e.g., a frail, elderly person, or an arthritic person) can easily exert. Deformable surface 125 is constructed of a material that gives it elastic properties. Surface 125 may be of a different thickness than the rest of the container although it may be comprised of a different material altogether. Preferably surface 125 is manufactured from a resilient material such that moderate deformation occurs upon the application of slight pressure and, because of the surface's elastic or resilient characteristics, surface 125 resumes its original configuration after being released.
FIG. 5 illustrates a front side view of the anterior portion of the container with the lid fastener engaged to the nub. FIG. 6 illustrates the fastening mechanism in an expanded view. Hinge member 250 is shown attaching the lid to the container on the posterior side of the individual compartment.
FIG. 7 illustrates a top view of a portion of the pill holder with two compartments open and one closed. Preferably the thickness of external wall 345 and internal divider 340 is similar or identical, while the anterior wall and ridge area around nub 115 is thinner to allow for deformable surface 125 to deform and disengage nub 115 from fastener 120. Fastener 120 is made to slide over nub 115 in order to close the compartment. Preferably, six internal dividers 340 and two external walls are provided in pill container 100. Each opened-faced compartment 117 is individually closable, preferably with the nub fastening system.
 In FIG. 8, a perspective view of the pill container is shown. In the illustrated embodiment, deformable surface 125 is bulbous and slightly protruding. FIG. 9 shows a cross-section of another embodiment of the invention wherein the top lid has a bulbous surface 319 that starts at the back of the lid 320 and tapers down towards the front.
 It is understood that other configurations of the invention are envisioned. For example the legs 130 in FIG. 1 that give the container stability can be four individual pegs instead. In another alternate embodiment, the compartment lids 110 are fabricated from a transparent or semi-transparent material. In another embodiment, the compartment and lids can be of different geometrical shape. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the deformable surface is convex and bulbous. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the deformable surface along the anterior wall can be made of any surface that gives improved gripping characteristics.