Alone, We Can Do So Little; Together We Can Do So Much — A TikTok Inspirational Story
How a group of TikTokers created an easy-to-use dispense bottle for Parkinson’s pills
It was just a normal day of me scrolling through TikTok — Yes, I’m a 35 years old male with a TikTok account. As usual, my feed was filled with new trends, challenges, funny clips, and different dances.
Brian saw Jimmy Choi's video, a 2 World Record Holder, endurance athlete, 4x Ninja Warrior, and he is living with Parkinson's disease. Jimmy had posted a previous video on TikTok, in which he filmed himself grabbing a Parkinson’s pill from its container. The pills are tiny for someone with Parkinson’s, and it is an actual challenge to pick up a single pill (judge for yourself by watching the video).
Brian, who is in the entertainment business without design or medical experience, goes into beast mode. He learned fusion ( a 3D design software from AutoDesk) and designed a pill dispenser bottle, specifically tailored for Parkinson’s pills. The concept is brilliant.
The bottle has 3 parts; a lid, a rotatable base, and the cylinder in between:
- The lid: It closes the bottle efficiently, and it has a hole in it to dispense the pills.
- The cylinder: The cylinder is divided into two parts; in one, you store the pills, the other is underneath the hole in the lid.
- The rotatable base: It has a single indent, big enough so that when it is rotated, a single pill falls into it.
The idea is to rotate the base to isolate one pill from the others, and then like a shot glass, it can be swallowed without needing to grab the tiny pill with your fingers.
Now, Brian did not have access to a 3D printer. He posted the video on TikTok and uploaded the schematics online for other users to build with their 3D printers — Everything is open source. In this phase, small adjustments to tolerances needed to be made to ensure a good fit. Also, the thicknesses of the different parts had to be checked.
TikTok users with designing experiences and 3D printers rallied behind Brian, and collectively they updated and tested the design. After multiple iterations and prototypes, a functioning design is made available. This all happened in the span of a single week.
In his latest video update, Brian presented the amazing development, and he mentioned a couple of the amazing people who gathered to collectively solve this problem. He is currently discussing this pill bottle with a patent agency and manufacturers. And since this is an open-source design, anyone with a 3D printer can print one at the moment. He is trying to protect the design from ever getting patented by any company in the future.
The guys are 3D-printing those close to cost for anyone who needs one and cannot wait for the official manufacturing to start.
Faith in humanity restored.
Brian’s idea was the first step in the design process. However, optimizing and solving some of the printing issues took a collective effort from different TikTok users. This pill dispenser's development actually proved that working in groups is better and more efficient than working individually.
“Alone, We Can Do So Little; Together We Can Do So Much” — Helen Keller
Why working in groups is better?
Sharing ideas with others and telling your story is important, you do not know who is listening. In this example, Brian listened and started a collective effort to solve a problem.
Working with others enables you to pool your ideas and see problems from different perspectives. A group can attempt to solve problems that may not be accomplished by a single individual. Combining various skillsets and experiences allow the group to fathom the issue at hand on a larger scale.
Furthermore, group work opens the doors to learn from each other. Discussing, analyzing, and receiving feedback on your peers' ideas allow you to develop and gain further insights.
Working in a group provides great opportunities to develop generic skillsets such as organization, cooperation, delegation, and communication. These qualities are highly valued by your employer (current or future employer).
As a team leader in an engineering office, I can confirm that we only work in groups to accomplish our projects. Each team member has developed a certain skillset with time, which is vital for the entire team’s harmony. Every task in our team is solved in a group. Applying this tactic allows us to learn from each other and to optimize our processes continually. Everyone in the team can share their opinion with the rest.
Some universities and colleges acknowledged the benefits of collective working or studying. They’ve tailored their curriculum to focus on study groups and teamwork. Companies know the importance of this. They send their employees to team-building exercises or accommodate new office spaces. The employees are sitting together in groups; everyone supports everyone.
Even if you are working alone on something (e.g., writing a book), it is important to pounce the ideas or thoughts on someone. This process allows us to hear our thoughts aloud and see how others perceive our ideas.
Social media platforms are not only used to follow friends, influencers, or trends. They can be used to gain inspiration, learn new ideas, and collaborate.
TikTok users joined in arms to solve a problem, and collectively, from different parts of the world, they optimized and the design and issued multiple prototypes. In the end, the entire thing is left online as open-source for anyone to use and print too.
Working in a group or a team is more effective than working alone. In a group, ideas are shared, skills are forged, and complex problems are tackled from different angles.
In the end, I want to thank Brian Alldridge and all the other amazing people who came together for their collective effort. Also, listen to Jimmy Choi’s inspirational speech on the matter.