The STEM II is a group project supervised by Dr. Crowthers. This project aims to leverage engineering skills to build an assistive technology geared towards improving life conditions for those who contain some type of disability in the community. My team decided to make an automated medication pillbox connected via a mobile app to schedule and alert users on which medications to take and when.
Approximately 10-20% hospitalizations annually are caused by improper medical adherence, with no cost-effective solution in place to remind medication-prescribed patients to take their medications at all times. As folks get older, they are prescribed additional medications; however, remembering to take medications becomes increasingly difficult. Even with current established reminder systems in place, people can often get confused on which exact medication to take when the number of pill bottles accumulate and it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between them.
Our approach to constructing the medication pillbox was to first determine the primary sensor framework that the pillbox would use to detect whether the medication pills were taken or not. Our preliminary testing consisted of infrared sensors, weight sensors, magnetic reed switches, and touch sensors. We concluded that magnetic reed switches provided the most reliability and best integrated with the structure of a traditional medication pillbox. Next, to incorporate the sensors, we designed a custom pillbox that would send data to our mobile app based on sensor feedback.
Our final framework consisted of a 3 x 7 compartment CAD designed medication pillbox with 21 magnetic reed switches integrated for sensor feedback. Based on the number of pills in a given compartment, the hinge would have to be open for a certain duration of time to be considered open, after which it would update the information in Firebase Firestore, indicating that the user has taken their medications. To connect and send data to the cloud firestore, we connected our pillbox to a ESP8266 - 12E microcontroller WiFi module. The second component of this project consisted of a mobile app developed using Flutter and Dart. To learn more about the mobile app, visit this page.