"Oh shoot, did I take my meds yet today??"
A simple enough question. So why doesn't it have a simple enough answer? Cumbersome weekly pill trays, elaborate systems for turning bottles upside down, clunky apps that take more effort than they should -- these systems are far from elegant or foolproof. So, we decided to build our own: PillBoy
What it does
PillBoy automatically detects when you take your medication, and is equipped with an array of interface options -- from touchscreen to SMS notifications -- that make it easier than ever to follow your prescribed routine. Not sure if you took your pill yet? No worries, your daily status is always displayed on the screen. Forgot to take a dose? PillBoy will send you a helpful text message letting you know. Need a refill? PillBoy tracks your inventory and lets you know when you should call your pharmacy.
How we built it
At the heart of PillBoy is an ESP8266 IOT-enabled microcontroller. It takes input from a TFT touch screen and a photoresistor located in the prescription holder, processes it with our elegant code (including low-pass signal filtering and finite state machines for input), and then sends out the important data via SMS using Twilio API and a Python web server.
Challenges we ran into
A LOT can go wrong trying to use your first API or touchscreen -- but it was an incredible learning experience for both of us! As hackathon (and hardware) novices, there was a lot of material to learn to take our first steps, but we're more than happy with the outcome
Accomplishments that we're proud of
How much we accomplished in a day-- all of the brainstorming, designing, coding, pizza eating, revision, boba drinking, coding, coding, coding, and coding!!
What we learned
How to interface with an API, how to use an ESP8266, photoresistor, resistive touchscreen, and much more!
What's next for PillBoy
Refinement, refinement, refinement!! We have some exciting ideas for adding new sensors and functions (load cell to measure exact quantity of pills, automatic refill requests, more API utilization)
Awards at MakeMIT
The project won three awards at MakeMIT:
Most Innovative Hack (awarded by Infosys): Are you an innovator? Do you have an idea which could make life easier, simpler or better? We want you to use your imagination, to think creatively. This is a chance to ask “What if?” or even build a fun example of what this might look like. Judges will evaluate the projects and pitches based on their build quality (how awesome it is), engineering (does it work), and entrepreneurship (how was it pitched and what is its real-world potential). Good luck!
Most Impactful Problem to Solve in the Healthcare Domain (awarded by Philips): Does the idea your are working on solve a significant, difficult real-world problem in the Healthcare domain? Does the work during the event demonstrate that your approach could be developed into a real, working solution?
Best Twilio Hack (awarded by Twilio): Create an innovative IoT hack that incorporates 2 or more Twilio products.