Student Entrepreneur Wins £5k ‘Dragons’ Den’ Funding to Develop Automatic Pill Dispenser
A student at the University of Lincoln, UK, who designed an automatic pill dispenser has won £5,000 of funding to support its development and market release, after entering a Dragons’ Den style competition held by the institution. Edward Pitts-Drake, a first-year paramedic science student at Lincoln, came first out of eight businesses in the “Swans’ […]
A student at the University of Lincoln, UK, who designed an automatic pill dispenser has won £5,000 of funding to support its development and market release, after entering a Dragons’ Den style competition held by the institution.
Edward Pitts-Drake, a first-year paramedic science student at Lincoln, came first out of eight businesses in the “Swans’ Den” competition, held by the University’s Student Enterprise service.
Inspired by his grandma who has dementia and struggles to remember to take her medication at the correct dose and timing and Edward’s business, Pills 365 Ltd, designed, manufactured and programmed a machine to help with this.
Edward’s invention could be used in a range of clinical settings, including care homes, hospitals, as well as domestically. The design holds several weeks’ worth of tablets and is equipped with an alarm to alert the patient to their next timed dose. Should they forget to take their pills, the motion sensor will detect nearby movement and re-sound the alarm reminder. Additionally, there is the option to send an email alert to a designated person.
To prevent medication being tampered with, the device can only be accessed with specific tools. It also houses an internal battery which will switch on in the event of a power cut and is equipped with an internal 4G Wi-Fi modem.
Edward said: “The Swans’ Den competition presented me with a unique and challenging competition to win funding as part of a business grant through Student Enterprise and the University of Lincoln Student’s Union. The competition has guided me in business planning and challenged my decision making to create a robust business plan that will allow my design to succeed for many years to come.
“Pill Dispenser v3 is in the prototype stage and built on the successes of version two, it will be the next level of automated medication dispensing management, as well as being an extremely easy device and ecosystem for the device user and carers. The funding has enabled me to speed up the process of prototyping and testing, which will allow the product to come to market in a shorter timeframe than I’d previously planned.”
Speaking about the Swans’ Den competition overall, Reece Leggett, Student Enterprise Manager, said: “It’s great to see the level of knowledge and confidence in those who entered the competition. It’s one thing coming up for an idea of a business, but it is a whole different proposition developing the ability to present in front of a panel.
“Having that confidence from such a young age to stand in front of people and deliver a concise presentation and have the insight to answer any question thrown at you is testament to the finalists and I am excited to see the next steps for these businesses.”
The Swans’ Den competition is funded the Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF), a UK Research and Innovation body. It provides University of Lincoln students with an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a team of professionals for their chance to be awarded a grant of up to £5,000. This process allows then to gain key employability skills such as commercial awareness, organisation and communication.
More information about the University of Lincoln Student Enterprise can be found online: www.student-enterprise.co.uk/.