Opiate abuse and addiction rates are rising in the United States. A leading cause of opioid addiction comes from prescription drug abuse, with prescription opioid deaths constituting 15.7% of drug overdose deaths annually in the US. In 2016, over 214 million prescriptions were written for opioids, so we wanted to create a solution to prevent opioid addiction at the source.

What it does

Pill Box is a programmable lockbox that limits patient access to prescribed opiate drugs only at the specified dose time set by the healthcare provider. Pill Box unlocks at treatment time and locks when the bottle is put back into the box. It also records when drugs were removed from the box and put back into it and saves the information in an app interface. The app also sends information on drug access times to the healthcare provider so that if a patient removes the pills from the lockbox for an extended period of time, the provider is notified.

How we built it

Using an Arduino UNO, we programmed an OLED screen to show a stopwatch for time and allowed the clock to be controlled by a push button sensor. Additionally, a servo motor was used to act as the programmable lock. When the clock hits the dose time, the servo motor moves 90 degrees, unlocking the box, and then when the medication is removed the button is pressed stopping the clock. When the medication is put back into the box the button is pressed again, and the clock restarts and the servo motor turns back 90 degrees, locking the box. We wrote a python script that reads information from the Arduino serial line, that recorded the timestamp of each button push, this code put this data into a CSV file. The data from this file is read by R and then put into the app which shows the timestamps of previous doses.

Challenges we ran into

Initially, figuring out how to turn an OLED screen into a clock was difficult as Arduino reads time in milliseconds, so math had to be done to figure out how exactly to show time. Then we had some issues with how exactly to read the information from the Arduino serial line.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud that we have a working proof-of-concept of our design. We are also glad that we got to work together to solve this problem.

What we learned

We learned how to use Figma to design apps. We also learned how to use R to display CSV data. Additionally, we learned how to use simple sensors and actuators to cheaply solve a problem.

What's next for Pill Box

Pill Box can be improved in several ways, the first being a way for the app to communicate back to the Pill Box because currently our code only allows one-way communication. Additionally, we need to improve the code that reads the log time, specifying AM and PM times. Moreover, Pill Box needs to be integrated into an actual box, and will likely need more sensitive sensors and a stronger motor to work as a lock.

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