Our ideas stemmed from our familial roots. Each member had grandparents who immigrated to the United States and had a difficult time learning the English language. They all encountered medical issues at some point during their time here and struggled to manage their medication for one reason or another. They did not know how to read the instructions on their pill bottles nor did they understand the complicated medical terms used by doctors. As they aged, many of them ended up forgetting to take their medication and then compensating by taking more or choosing to ignore the instructions simply because they couldn’t comprehend them. This contributed to the deterioration of their health, putting them back where they started: in the hospital.

What It Does

This app was created to scan a prescription and then parse the image to find strings containing the medication name, dosage, and instructions. Once the scan is complete, the user will be prompted to double-check the information to make sure it all matches. Following confirmation, ideally, the app allows the user to create a translation of the instructions into their native language. A pictogram then illustrates how to take their medication.

How We Built It

This Android native application was built in Android Studio with the help of Google Cloud and Firebase. We used the native Android feature of intents to retrieve images from the user’s Gallery. We then _ attempted _ to upload images to Google Cloud’s OCR in order to parse the medication name, dosage, and instructions and store them in the Firestore. We then built a custom RecyclerView class to display data fetched from Firebase to the user.


Most of our team comes from a biology background and lacked coding experience. It was challenging to learn new coding languages in such a short time frame. In order to incorporate all the elements we wanted in our app, we were tasked with learning how to use GitHub, Android Studio, and Google Cloud all within 24 hours. So, it was difficult trying to understand many unfamiliar programming terms and implementing them successfully.
For the programming the biggest difficulty was dealing with trying to implement the FireBase and Cloud functionalities.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

With only one experienced coder on our team, we are proud of the initiative others took to learn how to code and our willingness to go beyond our comfort zones. Given that we started as strangers, we are proud of how easily we collaborated and communicated with each other. When one of us ran into an obstacle, another teammate provided a quick rebound. In such a short time, our team was able to create a comfortable and productive environment. We were also able to successfully produce a GUI that included pictograms and create a functioning app with many prospective applications.

During this time, we were able to discover a multitude of different app building software and the many layers they comprise of. We also learned about the vast collections of usable API that are available to the general public and many beginning developers. Through Android Studio and GitHub, we were exposed to new programming formats and coding using a more collaborative approach. For most of us, this was our first time implementing APIs and using Google Cloud. As a result of this, we gained a more fundamental picture of coding as a universal language that can be applied to telemedicine.

What's Next for PicPill

PicPill has an immense potential to grow with time and implementation of advanced smart features. As an app that focuses on making lives easier, it can be predicted that PicPill will diffuse beyond its intended audience and towards daily use in the general public. With the addition of a QR code feature, stable translation method, website domain, and iOS compatibility, PicPill will be well on its way to becoming a reliable source for prescription translation. By using a simplified and streamlined system, users will become more comfortable and knowledgeable about their prescriptions.

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