The Zangle is the pill case that all your friends will ask about. Designed as a simple, stylish jewelry charm, the Zangle can be slid open with one hand to reveal its hidden compartment. Fitted with a standardized lobster clasp, the Zangle can be attached to bracelets, necklaces, zippers, or anywhere else you can think of, so that you can finally leave those bulky purses and ugly pill cases at home.
The Zangle Story
The small inconveniences in life can trigger a sigh, a gripe, or a shrug. Occasionally, they also trigger a new idea. That’s what happened when Zach Schwartz, a newly graduated aerospace engineer, got married in August 2015 and encountered the conundrum the female half of the population has been facing for a while: women’s clothes don’t come with pockets.
“Why don’t women’s clothes come with pockets?” he asked recently. “It’s so freaking annoying.”
Since his wife Avital doesn’t always carry a purse, she asked him to hold her nightly pill, which she took on a schedule and couldn’t miss. So as the designated pocket-wearer in the family, Schwartz became the pill carrier, too, and soon discovered that fumbling for a pill in the middle of a nice dinner out can make for awkward moments.
“I’m a big believer that keeping it simple is best,” he said. So he asked himself what would be unobtrusive, useful, and carry that single pill someone needs at the ready? After several months of thinking about it, he came up with the idea of a bead-like pill-holder that could easily be clipped on to a necklace, bracelet or even a zipper pull. The idea of the Zangle was born.
Schwartz is no stranger to inventing. Trained at the University of Maryland College Park as an aerospace engineer, he’s currently working at an engineering firm that develops large machines, but he’s always liked inventing on the side. While in school he created a small addition to aglets – the plastic tube that keeps the end of a shoelace from unraveling – to keep kids from breaking them. After graduation he bought a 3D printer so he could keep tinkering with ideas.
“I like to deal in the tangible world,” he said. “I like building things that make life a little smoother for people.”
Until the Zangle, however, he’d never taken an idea from inspiration to production to marketing. First came months of hammering out the exact shape and design of the product.
“I started with the hinging mechanism – two sides of a lobster claw that closed around a pill. That didn’t work well or look nice. So I started thinking – what is already on jewelry nowadays? Avital has a necklace with metal beads on them, and that got me thinking about the product looking like it could be part of a necklace.”
After spending time figuring out the perfect size and shape – “I wanted something small enough to be inconspicuous, but large enough to hold a small pill,” – he came up with a half inch bead that could hold a pill the size of a baby aspirin.
Once he’d developed the right design, he began 3D printing on his own machine. When he’d perfected it there, he moved on to a company that had more high tech 3D printers for the final design. Next he reached out to manufacturers and wrote a preliminary patent for the product.
Then came the search for a name.
“Avital came up with that,” he said. “I like Zs, and she thought – well, it dangles, doesn’t it?”
After some initial market research and lots of conversations with people who might wear the Zangle, he created a gold, silver and colored option. Finally, it was time to take it to the public, and for that, he joined forces with Avisha NessAiver, a fellow University of Maryland engineering graduate and jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur who helped him “take it out into the world.”
Together the two launched a Kickstarter campaign, designed a Zangles website, and have begun the process of taking the product public. When they meet their Kickstarter goals, the next step is to add more colors, designs, and maybe even sizes to the Zangles line.
“Eventually, I’d like to see it in stores,” Schwartz said. “I’d really like it to be something that helps make it easier for people to take only what they need and not have to have a bunch of stuff.”
- Early bird pricing starts at $10 for a pair
- Available in a Silver and Gold colored plating as well as Glow in the Dark and a selection of colors that will be determined by user voting
- Fits pills the size of a baby aspirin, up to 7 mm x 8 mm x 10 mm
- Can be slid open and closed with one hand on a specially designed railway mechanism
- Latches securely to prevent the pill from sliding out
- Clips onto bracelets, necklaces, zippers, and more using a standardized lobster clasp
Quotes from Zach Schwartz
- “Why don’t women’s clothes come with pockets?” Zach asked recently. “It’s so freaking annoying.”
- “I’m a big believer that keeping it simple is best.”
- “I like to deal in the tangible world,” he said. “I like building things that make life a little smoother for people.”
- “I started with the hinging mechanism – two sides of a lobster claw that closed around a pill. That didn’t work well or look nice. So I started thinking – what is already on jewelry nowadays? Avital has a necklace with metal beads on them, and that got me thinking about the product looking like it could be part of a necklace.”
- “I wanted something small enough to be inconspicuous, but large enough to hold a small pill.”
- “Eventually, I’d like to see it in stores,” Schwartz said. “I’d really like it to be something that helps make it easier for people to take only what they need and not have to have a bunch of stuff.”
- “I came up with it when I got married and found out women’s clothes don’t come with pockets.”
- “You can put the Zangle on pretty much anything, and have that pill at hand,” Schwartz said. “No more digging through a purse or forgetting it at home.”
- “I like creating tangible things that can make life a little easier,” said Schwartz, who’s been interested in inventing for years. While he worked on design as a hobby with friends in school, the Zangle is the first product he’s taken from idea to full-fledged development.
- “Like anybody who has an idea I probably spent about a year not doing anything with it before developing the design using 3D modeling.”
- “As a medical student on clinical rotations, it is challenging to reliably plan anything. My Zangle has taken away a lot of that stress by ensuring that I always have my medicine on hand when my alarm goes off- whether I am in the OR, Emergency Room, or running to my next patient. My Zangle has allowed me to never miss an important pill and I am so thankful for this easy to use, little lifesaver.
I would highly recommend this product to anyone who has any medications that they need to take on a regular basis and never want to be caught without.” – Brooke Prince
“When I slide a pill out of my Zangle I feel a bit like James Bond.” – Jessica L.
- “The first time I left my house with just my Zangle it felt so liberating!” – Sarah W.
- “Sometimes I wear my Zangle even on days where I don’t need my pill.” – Emma C.
- “Every time I open it up, someone asks me about it” – Olivia P.