Our inspiration came from the fact that one of our team's grandmothers had a close encounter with death, due to her consuming the wrong dosage of prescription medicine at the wrong time. We came together to help the elderly and people that are heavily dependent on medicine and need these exact dosages and precise timings, as they may struggle to do these things themselves due to their ailments.
What it does
This project comes together in two parts. We created a working pillbox, which we call the PlannerBox, that tracks if pills are inside the daily pill containers, as well as a website that will allow users and/or a doctor to input a specific prescription schedule and will send out SMS reminders until the user takes their medicine.
The process from start to finish is as such: Fill the PlannerBox, and confirm that it is filled on the Pill Pattern website. On said website, users or a doctor will then set the schedule of their medicine, and the website will then begin monitoring the box around the time dosage should occur. The PlannerBox will repeatedly scan the box until one of two things happens. Either the user opens and takes the pills out causing the PlannerBox to send the all clear to the website, or the time passes and the website sends out warnings containing instructions on what a person should do if they miss the window to take their medication. It will continuously send SMS text messages to the user until some action is taken.
How we built it
Each member covered a separate part of the project, the part best suited to their skill set. We had two members focus on the website and PlannerBox coding, while one focused on building and wiring the pillbox, and the last took care of branding and logo creation.
Challenges we ran into
We faced challenges in both the personal and technical sense throughout this project. One of the biggest issues was with our PlannerBox sensors. We originally intended to use a strain gauge type load cell to measure the weight of each individual compartment of the Planner box but found that the gauges were not nearly accurate or consistent enough to even be remotely useful in this application. This major setback forced us to get creative in order to pull off this project, In the end, we created a custom pressure plate sensor that would complete the detection circuit when there were pills place in the container This allowed us to accurately gauge if right pills were in the box, as the panel would not be pressed down without the correct weight.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're extremely proud of the solution we engineered to fix our sensor problem with the PlannerBox. As well as the progress our team made over the course of the weekend.
What we learned
Sometimes you just need to step back from a difficult problem and take a deep breath and remember that sometimes a complex problem can be solved with some simple rudimentary solution such as a card stock and tin foil switch to take the place of a fancy load cell.
What's next for Pill-Patterns
We would love to see Pill-Patterns continue its life to become a full-fledged product that can be distributed through doctors and hospital healthcare systems, allowing people to more easily manage their medication.