How TikTok crowdsourced an open-source 3D-printed pill bottle opener plan for people with Parkinson's

The Auto Pill Bottle is a pretty cool invention that automatically dispenses pills, instead of forcing people with physical disabilities such as Parkinson's Disease to struggle with pressing down and unscrewing the bottle cap. But the story behind it is even cooler.

It started when Jimmy Choi, an ultra marathoner who's appeared on American Ninja Warrior, posted a TikTok video about his struggle with pill bottles stemming from Parkinson's disease. "I can break fitness world records," he told Freethink magazine, "but I can't take a pill I need to function. It's like a dream and a nightmare rolled into one," he said.


Hey Parma companies… get a clue! Raising #parkinsons #awareness sorry, I get a little angry when I am struggling to move sometimes.

♬ Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Videographer Brian Alldridge saw the video, and tried to design a new pill bottle that would address the problem using a knob at the base to flick out individual pills. But Alldridge didn't have a 3D-printer to test the design.

So he posted his plans online, and asked people with 3D-printers to help him out. He wrote:

Hey guys this is a design that Brian Aldridge made up for people with Parkinson's or anything similar. Its a auto dispensing pill bottle for people having issues with pills. feel free to take this design I made and modify it for your needs but we ask this is not a part for sale as its something we are working on and don't try and take it and patented it because that wont work either.


#stitch with @jcfoxninja Does someone want to make this guy a container? #3dprinting

♬ Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

Within less than 2 weeks, a working prototype was ready. According to Parkinson's News Today, Alldridge is currently working with a patent attorney to ensure that the project files remain publicly available, so that the price to buy one can stay low. "It has less plastic in it than your average McDonald's toy, and should be priced as such," he said, according to CBC.

How TikTok users designed a better pill bottle for people with Parkinson's [CBC Radio]

The Tale of a PD Patient, Social Media, and a Crowdfunding Campaign [Mary Chapman / Parkinson's News Today]

Auto Pill Bottle [Thingiverse]

Image: Mpelletier1 / Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 3.0)