Parkinson’s: TikTok users 3D-print pill bottle for people with shaky hands

Medication can make living with Parkinson’s more bearable, but the problem for many Parkinson’s patients is that it’s incredibly difficult removing a tiny pill from a bottle of meds while their hands are shaking.

Elite athlete Jimmy Choi made this abundantly clear to his more than 150,000 followers on TikTok, where he posts videos of himself performing physical challenges—and more recently, posted a video demonstrating the challenge of removing a pill from a bottle when you have Parkinson’s.

In response to the video, a videographer named Brian Alldridge posted his own video displaying a pill bottle he designed to address Choi’s problem. Alldridge also offers to send files to anyone who wants to create an actual prototype of the pill bottle using a 3D printer. 

Alldridge thought he might get one or two responses, but when he woke up the next day, he found thousands of people online had offered to print the prototype. Working together, the TikTok community 3D printed and tested multiple versions of the pill bottle, and eventually sent Choi a prototype to test for himself.

“I am still amazed and in awe how the community jumped into action,” Choi said. “I think the design is up to version 5, and I am now waiting to receive one of those.”

The Optimist Daily has received criticism for posting content about TikTok in the past, but if we are to listen to the people involved in this Parkinson’s project, the platform appears to be very useful in bringing together communities of like-minded people and allowing them to collaborate.

“The way that the app prioritizes content that people engage with on a per-view basis allows for all ideas to be considered by the user’s peers on the app, rather than a situation where highly subscribed creators dominate the main space regardless of interest,” Alldridge explained. “Because of this, the app was able to figure out what type of people were engaging with the content, which was 3D printers in our case, and rapidly connected a community of amazing people willing to help.”

Moving forward, the goal is to get the prototype to more people with Parkinson’s for feedback. Engineer David Exler, who has taken over the project for Alldridge, is even offering to ship a bottle anywhere in the US if people either Venmo him $5 to donate to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or show proof they’ve made a donation directly.

At The Optimist Daily, we find it amazing to see how online communities can work together to make such a positive impact for someone they don’t even know. Bravo!

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