The P.I.L. Box - A Better Medication Reminder System
Studies show the consequences of patients not taking medications according to doctor's orders can be serious, especially in older patients.With today's low cost micro-controllers and sensors (and the incentive of the Radio Shack / Instructables Micro Controller Contest) I thought there must be a better way to ensure my elderly relatives are taking their medications on schedule. This Instructable describes how you can use a Parallax Propeller micro-controller to create the Propeller based Internet Logging Pill Dispenser...or the P.I.L Box
for short.What is the P.I.L. Box?
The P.I.L. Box is a modification to a standard pill dispenser, it uses a Parallax Propeller micro-controller to keep track of when a patient should take their medications. It displays a count down timer one hour before dosage time and then when the time arrives, it generates audible messages, LED 7 Segment messages and lights an LED under the correct compartment to be opened. When the patient opens a compartment, a sensor detects this and records the event to an internet accessible log file (thereby allowing relatives or health care providers to verify meds are being taken on time). More importantly the P.I.L Box logs the fact that a patient has missed their serving time and even sends a Twitter message to alert relatives and health care providers. Parts Needed
- 1 Microcontroller - For this project I used a Parallax Propeller microcontroller (Board of Education model), but an Arduino would work as well.
- 1 Pill Dispenser - an Ezy Dose XL 7 Day Pill Reminder with Push Button Pop-up Covers
- 1 Project Box - I used a wooden ex-toolbox from a salvage store
- 8 Micro-switches - one for each day of the week and one to detect the pill box is missing
- 1 Momentary switch - used to answer prompts from the microcontroller
- 1 4-digit seven-segment display - displays messages
- 2 Shift registers or for easier wiring, I used a Shift-me! card from tymkrs.com
- 1 breadboard
- 1 speaker - the Propeller BOE has a 3.5mm headphone jack and voice synthesized messages are played through the speakers
- 1 PC - a serial connection over USB is used to log events to the web server.
- (optional) XBee modules - instead of a USB connection as shown in the attached video, you could optionally use XBee modules to send messages wirelessly from the PIL Box to the PC