The inspiration for PillHero was to create a complete solution to helping the sick and elderly to learn and stick too their schedule for taking medication.
What it does
Using the iOS app, the user enters their medication schedule, which is composed of a start date, end date, daily timings, and the medication name. The user places their medication on the pill mount. As the time nears for the user to take their medication, the app notifies the user that they should take their medication. The pill mount detects when they take their medication. If the user does not, the app notifies them. Should the user not take the pill within a specified period after this, it is counted as them having missed taking their medication.
How we built it
-- Hardware -- The pill mount was built out of three main components: the Raspberry Pi 3, an infrared LED, and an infrared phototransistor. The LED and phototransistor are used as a touch-less way of detecting when the user removes the pill bottle from the mount. If this was done close enough to when the user is supposed to take their pills, then the assumption is made that the user took their pills for that time slot. -- Software -- On the software side there was a combination of front end as well as back end developments. For the front end, an iOS mobile application was used to gain input from the user as well as to present calendar information. The input method utilizes speech-to-text technology to translate user voice input to a text input. From there, the user is able to edit the textfield if any mistakes were made. Then to input is passed to an AI for parsing and understanding of the statement. That data is later is sent to a back end server that keeps track of the user's pill intake via communication with the Raspberry Pi 3 and communicating using the calendar screen on the iOS application.
Challenges we ran into
one of the major challenges we encountered was trying to connect the raspberry pi, the phone and the server all together. Due to the security of the wifi, it was very difficult to ssh into either the raspberry pi or properly set up http requests between the devices. Our work around for this was to set up a LAN that let us connect all our devices and easily make requests between them
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Completing a project that involves hardware has been a goal of multiple team members for a while and this hackathon gave them the opportunity to do that. In reality though, the team is most proud that they were able to create an internet of things project where the hardware and software complement each other rather than feel arbitrarily attached.
What we learned
The entire team learned a significant amount about network programming from troubleshooting issues with the Pi 3 and trying to interface the server with both system components. Otherwise, the learning was different for each member. The members who had experience with hardware were exposed to working with servers and databases. Simultaneously, the members with full-stack experience gained exposure to working with hardware. This resulted in all members becoming more well-rounded developers and gaining experience that will aid them in future hackathons and their careers.
What's next for PillHero
Post-hackathon, the team plans to continue development of PillHero into a more complete product. Numerous upgrades are planned like the ability to track non-daily medication routines and functionality with multiple drugs. On the iOS side in particular, implementation of push notifications and text message reminders are planned. As for the pill mount, the team plans to add an accurate to team plans to add an accurate analog scale to the device so it can notify the user when they are running out of pills.