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Smart Box for Secure Delivery of Controlled Substances in Medical Centers

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovative Uses of Technology and Techniques for Laboratory Exercises

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1162.1 - 25.1162.17



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Paper Authors


Ghassan T. Ibrahim Bloomsburg University

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Ghassan T. Ibrahim is Associate Professor at the Physics & Engineering Technology Department. He currently teaches communication systems, RF effects and measurements, and senior design project courses. He received his B.Sc. in electronics engineering from University of London, U.K., and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University at Raleigh.

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Aaron J. Homiak Geisinger Health System

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Aaron Homiak is a Process Engineer (supply chain and logistics) at Geisinger Health System. He holds a bachelor's of science in electronics engineering technology from Bloomsburg University and an associate's degree in Automotive Technology from Luzerne County Community College.

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Alexander Hallden-Abberton Bloomsburg University

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John R. Pulaski

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SMART BOX FOR SECURE DELIVERY OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES IN MEDICAL CENTERSAbstractRadio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been successfully utilized in various aspects of thedaily medical centers’ operations, where a high level of logistics is necessary to transportthousands of medical instruments, drugs, and controlled substances throughout the hospitalbuildings on a daily basis. Using RFID tags to track hospital items is a recent but not unexploredchallenge. One such application, proposed to a local medical center, is a real time monitoring andtracking of controlled substances as they are transported within the hospital.A senior design project was initiated to develop a prototype “Smart Box” to transport thecontrolled medical supplies (e.g. medical narcotics) under strict surveillance and security. Thedeveloped system uses two RFID readers interfaced through Arduino mini card to a wirelesscard; all embedded in the smart box. The readers communicate through the wireless card to acentral monitoring computer. The hospital staff transporting the box is identified by an RFIDtagged badge. When detected by the first RFID reader at a pre-assigned location, the staff IDinformation and the location ID are relayed to the central computer which authorizes them toaccess the box contents.Substances inside the box will be tagged and monitored by the second RFID system. Afterunlocking the box and a substance is removed its information is detected by the second readerand sent through Arduino card and the wireless card to the central computer. At the centralcomputer the staff ID, the box location, and the accessed substance information will be strictlymonitored.The smart box design utilizes two RFID systems operating at two different frequencies,communicating through an Arduino mini card to a wireless card; all embedded in the box. Theinvolvement of students in developing such a system based on state of art technology is of utmostimportance. It provides hands-on experience and an excellent venue for the students to integratethe theoretical and practical knowledge gained during their educational period to develop,analyze, and solve a real world problem. The paper will present the results, the analysis, and theeducational outcomes of the developed prototype Smart Box.

Ibrahim, G. T., & Homiak, A. J., & Hallden-Abberton, A., & Pulaski, J. R. (2012, June), Smart Box for Secure Delivery of Controlled Substances in Medical Centers Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21919

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