US 3818473 A
A pill container has a lower pill-holding portion and an upper cover portion. A spring-driven escapement controlled timer projects from an inner face of the cover portion. A battery in the cover portion supplies current to the buzzer when timer contacts are closed and when complementary contacts in the cover and container portions are juxtaposed. Opening the container stops the buzzer. When the container is closed without resetting the timer, the buzzer is activated, reminding the carrier to set the timer. When the timer is set and the cover is closed, the buzzer sounds after a preselected number of hours, reminding the carrier to open the box, take a pill, and reset the timer.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Murray et a1.
1 PERSONAL PILL REMINDER  Inventors: Marjorie Remus Murray; Daniel Allen Murray, both of 249-8 Kapili St., Honolulu, Hawaii 96815  Filed: Apr. 14, 1972  Appl. No.: 247,178
521 US. Cl. 340/309.1 R, 340/3094 R 511 im. Cl G040 19/02 58 Field of Search 340/309.1 R, 309.4 R; 58/19 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,853,182 9/1958 Barnett 206/38 R 3,031,654 4/1962 Galen 340/3091 R 3,320,442 5/1967 Tudrank 340/3094 X June 18, 1974 Primary Examiner-Harold I. Pitts Attorney, Agent, or Firm-James C. Wray [5 7] ABSTRACT A pill container has a lower pill-holding portion and an upper cover portion. A spring-driven escapement controlled timer projects from an inner face of the cover portion. A battery in the cover portion supplies current to the buzzer when timer contacts are closed and when complementary contacts in the cover and container portions are juxtaposed. Opening the container stops the buzzer. When the container is closed without resetting the timer, the buzzer is activated, reminding the carrier to set the timer. When the timer is set and the cover is closed, the buzzer sounds after a preselected number of hours, reminding the carrier to open the box, take a pill, and reset the timer.
11 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEU JUN I 81974 0 LIL 2 10 FIG. 3
FIG 5 "T MW} PERSONAL PILL REMINDER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION One of the most common problems associated with the periodic taking of medication is the failure of take pills on time. Often, a person simply forgets to take a pill when the appropriate time comes. Sometimes a person forgets when he has taken his last pill. A person may forget whether he indeed took a pill the last time.
Some modern medications demand the building up of a body accumulation of drugs to a certain level and maintaining that level by a precise regime of pill taking. Failure to take pills according to that regime results in an excess or deficiency of medication level, either of which may have adverse effects.
Many medications are given in maximum safe dosages. Exceeding those dosages by taking pills too often, such as when one forgets when the last pill was taken or if the last pill was taken too late and another pill too soon, may have serious consequences. Failure to take sufficient pills due to failure to remember when pills were last taken or failure to remember to take a pill at an appointed time or other interruption of a regime may reduce body level of a medication to an ineffective amount. Not only are such reduced levels ineffectual, but also such reduced levels may produce either a sensitivity to a drug or an immunity to its effects. Later prescriptions of the same drugs may not be advisable, even if prescribed regimes of medication are closely followed at a later time.
Some repetitive medications by the nature of their composition dull the memory encumbering the ability to remember when the medication was last taken or when it next should be taken.
Prior art devices have dispensed articles following selected intervals. Such devices are cumbersome and neither ensure that the articles so dispsensed will be used at the appropriate time due to their unavailability nor ensure that following intervals will be properly programmed.
Several pill boxes have been designed for personal use and for convenient carrying with a person. Such pill boxes have not provided active remainders that a pill should be taken and that a timer should be set for the next dosage before returning a pill box to its normal carrying position.
SUMMARY OF THE lNVENTlON The present invention is a pill box which actively reminds a person at the appropriate time when a pill should be taken. The box additionally actively reminds a person that a time for taking the next dosage must be set before returning the box to its normal location.
In a preferred embodiment, the device comprises a container portion with a relatively moveable cover portion. A completion means which is a two-part electric switch has a first part mounted on the cover and a complementary part mounted on a container portion. Closing the cover portion on the container portion completes the communication of elements of the switch. A supply means, which is in the preferred embodiment an electrical circuit, is connected to the switch. A power supply or a battery is connected to the supply means or circuit. The power source supplies power through the completion means between the closed coverand container to a signal means in the box. A timer is also connected to the supply means. In the preferred embodiment, the timer has an hour indicating indicia-bearing disk mounted on an inner face of the cover. A spindle extends centrally through the disk and has fixed at a proximal end a hub with a pointer. Potential energy is imparted to a spring within the cover by turning the hub pointer and spindle. When the hub is released, the spring drives the spindle, hub and pointer through an escapement mechanism in a conventional manner in the opposite sense of direction back toward the zero point. When the pointer is at the zero point, electrical contacts in the timer complete a second severable part of the circuit for supplying power from the battery to the signalling element.
A moveable marker may be employed with the timer for selecting a fixed position on the disk to indicate the repetitive medication. Any conventional form of small timer may be employed. For example, the entire disk may move with the spindle relative to a fixed index on the inner face of the cover portion.
A variable power controlling device is used in the supply means of one embodiment. A variable resistor may be mounted in the electrical circuit with a controller extending through an inner face of the cover portion.
A noise producing device is preferred as the signal. A buzzer is preferred, but a bell or chime may be used. A variable device, such as a controllable sound deadening device, may be used to change the intensity of sound produced by the signal according to the desires and needs of the user. Any convenient signal may be used. A moveable signal may produce a shaking of the container; a light may be employed where the device is worn in a visible spot such as a locket. Temperature change may be employed as a signal when the device is configured for wearing against the skin such as a locket.
Any convenient power source may be employed in the signal circuit. For example, a battery operates an electric signal. A wound spring may operate a mechanical signal. In the case of a mechanical system, the completion means may be a spring-mounted push bar which locks the mechanism until the cover is closed. The timer may have elements which lock the signal-driving mechanism until the timer reaches the zero position.
In a preferred embodiment, the container portion is the base of the box. Th timer is contained in the cover portion, and a battery, buzzer and variable resistor are connected with circuitry to the cover portion. A completion switch between the cover and the container comprises two spaced contacts on the cover portion and an interconnecting bar on the base portion.
In an alternate embodiment, the cover portion may be reduced to the smallest size possible commensurate with commercially available timers. Other elements may be inserted in the cover portion where excess space permits, and the remaining elements are placed in a separate compartment within the container portion. For example, the battery and buzzer may be placed within the container portion, and the buzzer may communicate through a grill in the outer face of the container. Preferably the cover is decorated so that the container is always opened with the pill receiver in the lower position.
Broad objectives of the invention are accomplished by employing the device in a two-part container with a signal, a power source, a timer and complementary means cooperating between the parts to operate a signal when the parts are juxtaposed with the timer on zero.
One object of the invention is the provision of a twopart reminder container having a container portion, a relatively moveable cover portion, a signal and power source, means connecting the signal and power source, a timer for interrupting the connecting means and a switch for interrupting the connecting means, and being operable upon closing the container to complete one part of the connecting means.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a personal pill reminder having a pill receiver, a power source, a signal, supply means connecting the source and signal, a timer interrupting the supply means when offset from zero, and a switch interrupting the supply means when a cover on the pill receiver is open.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a personal pill reminder having a pill container portion, a cover portion, a timer mounted on an inner face of the cover portion, a battery and a buzzer mounted in the portions and a switch mounted between the portions, and a. circuit connecting the battery, buzzer, timer and switch in series for interrupting the circuit when the container is open or when the timer is offset from zero.
These and other objects of the invention are apparent in the disclosure, which comprises the foregoing and ongoing specification, including the claims, and the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of an open box personal pill reminder.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of a box similar to that shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the outer face of a cover.
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of one embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 5 is an electrical circuit schematic of a preferred form of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring to FIG. 1, pills are mounted within a recessed container portion 12 of a personal pill reminder box. The box has a power source and a signal which are not shown. An adjustment 13 controls the intensity of the signal. In the present case, the letters I and s indicate that a noisemaking signal is employed and is adjusted so that its controller is at a loud end. A two-part switch generally indicated by the numeral 15 has one elongated rectangular section at one edge of the container portion opposite two complementary square sections 16 in the cover portion of the container. Hinges l7 join the cover portion 20 and the container portion 12. A clasp not shown at edges of the cover and container portions opposite the hinge hold the portions together when the cover is closed, thereby holding contacts 16 in communication with contact 15. A timer 22 is mounted on an inner face of a cover 20.
As shown in FIG. 2, the entire closed personal pill container is generally indicated by the numeral 30. Only the end 32 of the hinge interrupts the smooth side faces of the box. As shown in FIG. 3, the outer face 40 of the cover has decorative lettering 42 so that the box may be held in proper position for opening.
FIGS. 3 and 4 show a modification of the container with recessed hinges. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the lower and outer face of the container portion has a battery within a recess 52. A buzzer is mounted behind a screened opening 56. The opening may be adjustably shuttered in order to vary the intensity of signal. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, two separate conductors are connected between the electrical elements in the cover and in the container section. Two sets of contacts such as indicated by the numeral I6 in FIG. I may be employed, or a single contact in the cover may communicate with a single contact in the base, employing one of the hinges as the second circuit.
In FIG. 5 an embodiment is shown in which all of the elements are mounted in one portion of the pill reminder box, for example the cover portion. Cover contacts are completed by base contact 62 when the cover is closed. Battery 65 is connected in supply means 66 in which one part is interrupted by timer 67. When fixed pole 69 is contacted by moveable pole 70 on the moveable part 72 of the timer, i.e., when timer 67 is at the zero position with the box closed, power is supplied through the variable resistor 75 to buzzer 78. Opening the box separates contact 62 from contact 60, shutting off a buzzer. Closing the box without resetting the timer then completes the circuit to the buzzer, reminding the user that the timer must be reset. When the pointer on hub 72 is set to the appropriate hour marked on the dial of timer 67, the box may be closed. The timer hub is driven in a conventional manner to the zero point, whereupon poles 69 and 70 are contacted, supplying power to the buzzer until the box is opened.
The present invention is a pill box of any shape, size and exterior design with a built-in reminder system to tell when to take a pill, by way of a chime, bell or buzzer.
The timer is set by the owner for the time he must take his pill; he takes his pill and in all probability closes the box. However, the pill box will again chime, ring or buzz until he resets the timer for the time his next pill is due. In this way there can be no mistakes, no oversights and no accidents. The reminder tells him exactly when to take his pill.
If the person is traveling and crossing time zones, it will make no difierence to the reminder as it might to his memory and would to his wrist watch.
Certain pills, such as anti-convulsants, tranquilizers or sleeping pills, by their very nature impair the memory. Hence, the personal pill reminder has unique and important value and necessity.
The reminder need not necessarily look like the ordinary pill box. It may look like a brooch, pendant, charm on a charm bracelet or lapel pin. The box can be mounted or set in the frame of a handbag. For men the box can be mounted on a money clip, set in a wallet or attache case or be dangled from a key chain. Any variation is possible from a simple square of brushed chrome to an elaborately jewel-encrusted box.
One important feature is the built in safety device that will not allow it to stop ringing, buzzing or chiming until the owner resets it at the proper time for his next pill.
When the reminder is not being used for pills, it can be set for appointments, parking meter times and time intervals between drinks or cigarettes when one is cutting down. It can be set to remind one to make an important phone call at the right time. It can remind one of the length of time one has allocated for a business appointment, conversation, interview or luncheon.
Since the reminder has a rheostat to control the sound volume, it can be taken to a business meeting or concert hall with the rheostat turned low. With the rheostat turned up, it can be taken outdoors, left in the next room or taken to a moderately noisy restaurant.
The main purpose of the reminder is accuracy and safety. No matter what the age of the pill taker or what the nature of the pill he takes, the owner of the reminder could never forget to take his pill or take too few or too many.
While the present invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, modifications and variations may be made without departing from the scope of theinvention, which is precisely defined only in the following claims.
1. Container reminder pill box apparatus comprising a box having a container portion and a relatively moveable cover portion, a completion means having a first section connected to the container portion and a second section connected to the cover portion for completing communication between the sections upon joining the cover and container portions, supply means connected to the completion means for communicating power thereto, a source of power connected to the supply means for imparting power to the supply means, signal means connected to the supply means for producing a discernible signal, and timer means connected to the supply means for completing the supply means and thereby supplying power from the source to the signal means when the first and second sections are joined.
2. The reminder pill box apparatus of claim 1 further comprising variable means connected to the supply means for varying supply of power from the source to the signal means.
3. The container reminder apparatus of claim 1 wherein the container apparatus comprises a portable personal reminder pill box, wherein the container portion comprises a pill receiving portion, wherein the power source comprises a portable self-contained source of electrical power, and wherein the signal means comprises miniature electrical signal producing means.
4. The reminder pill box apparatus of claim 3 wherein the first and second sections comprise first and second electrical contacts respectively connected to the cover portion and to the pill receiving portion.
5. The reminder pill box apparatus of claim 3 wherein the timer means comprises a fixed pole connected to one part of the supply means and a moveable selector having a moveable pole connected to another part of the supply means for engaging the fixed pole, and drive means for moving the selector toward engagement of the poles.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the reminder container is a portable pocket-size reminder pill box, wherein the source of power, the signal means, the supply means and the timer means are mounted in the cover portion of the pill box, and wherein the completion means comprises a spaced pair of contacts in the cover portion, and a complementary bar contact in the container portion of the pill box for spanning the spaced contacts when the pill box cover portion is closed upon the pill box container portion, whereby the completion means completes a portion of the supply means when the reminder pill box is closed, whereby power is communicated to the signal means from the source via the supply means and the completion means when the timer means completes a portion of the supply means, and wherein the timer has a stop at a zero position, whereby the signal means stops upon opening the pill box and restarts upon closing the pill box before the timer means is reset, thereby reminding the user to reset the timer.
7. The reminder pill box apparatus of claim 6 wherein the timer means is mounted on an inner face of the cover portion which faces the container portion.
8. The reminder pill box apparatus of claim 7 further comprising a variable transmission means connected to the circuit supply means and mounted in the cover portion with a controller connected to the variable means and extending through the inner face of the cover portion adjacent the timer for varying intensity of signal produced by the signal means.
9. The reminder pill box apparatus of claim 8 wherein the signal means comprises a noise-making alarm, and further comprising an opening in an external face of the cover adjacent the alarm means whereby sound is transmitted from the reminder apparatus.
10. The reminder pill box apparatus of claim 6 wherein the source is a battery mounted in a recess in the cover portion having access through an outer face of the cover portion.
11. The container reminder apparatus of claim 1 wherein the box comprises a small pill box adapted for carrying on a person of a user, and wherein the signal means comprisesa noise-making means, whereby the timer means upon stopping at a zero position causes operation of the signal means, disturbing the user, whereby opening the box interrupts the noise and closing the box restarts the noise which continues until the timer is reset, thereby concurrently reminding one to take a pill and to reset the timer for the next desired interval.