Inspiration

Every member of our team has needed medicine in the middle of the night, and realized that we’d run out. This might be okay for over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol, but for prescription medicines - especially those that offer critical, life-saving functionalities and must be taken on time - this is a large problem, one that is actually much more extensive than it seems at first glance. In most cases, a completed bottle of medication means the prescription must be renewed by the doctor even before a refill can be acquired from the pharmacy. Waiting lists for doctor’s appointments are extensive, often on the order of weeks, and many people have work schedules that conflict with the hours pharmacies are open to dispense medication - all presenting unnecessary hindrances to something as crucial as getting medicine. This is why we designed and developed DispensER: a Dispensing pipeline for Emergency Resources.

What it does

DispensER is an end-to-end prescription medicine pipeline, from facilitating diagnostics to dispensing final prescriptions. Using either a Microsoft Azure based chatbot interface or a phone call connected to RevSpeech’s text-to-speech service, patients can identify the symptoms they are experiencing and either request review for a potential new prescription, or request a renewal of an existing prescription. This request is sent to doctors, who can securely authorize the document using DocuSign’s electronic signature toolkit. Next, this authorization is piped into Rigetti’s quantum computing platform, in which an entangled pair of quantum bits is generated as highly secure authorization tokens. One of the qubits is sent to an authentication server, while the other qubit is sent to the patient, along with a QR code representing the prescription. The patient can drive to an automated prescription dispensing machine, for which we have developed a prototype, and scan the QR code. This identifies the prescription and verifies its authenticity by running multiple reads on the qubit to ensure entanglement with the original reference generated for that prescription. A second layer of authentication is performed by verifying that the user's geographical location corresponds with that of the dispenser. Once integrity is confirmed, the user is prompted to collect their prescription and the medicine is dispensed.

How we built it

We divided up each of the segments of this project (of which there were many) among our team members. One developed the integration with Rigetti's quantum computing platform, alongside a Rigetti representative who marveled at this unique application of quantum computing. One member developed both the mobile app as well as the prototype automated dispenser. One member developed the QR-code and authentication integration frameworks. We developed the chatbot and speech-to-text front-end functionality last, since we focused on creating the hardware prototype and observing its successful functionality, especially in conjunction with cloud-based quantum authentication.

Challenges we ran into

All stages, from hardware to software. For example, we tested four different dev boards and none of our hardware worked until seventeen hours in. Not even the Rigetti representative knew how to implement authentication using quantum computers into a framework like this - we had a unique concept, and so had to develop the entire methodology to integrate this from scratch.

We use one phone to demonstrate because during the Hackathon we developed the app for Android, and only one team member had an Android phone. In reality, there will be a standalone digital platform on the dispenser, and it will read the QR codes that will be on customers' phones. In our demonstration, the QR code was shown on the computer, where it was generated.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Quantum computing for authentication. Viable, robust prototype dispenser mechanism. Novel prescription pipeline.

What we learned

All of the technologies we used. Time management when it comes to teamwork and staying up more than 24 hours straight.

What's next for DispensER

Since DispensER serves an important and widespread issue within our country’s consumer-side pharmaceutical industry, and those of countries around the world, we want to get it there - we have developed the software to be easily scalable,

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