Talking pillbox finds its voice

The talking Medi-Voice pillbox – featured in our November 2007 edition – has now reached working prototype status, and is quite different to the initial design

Dr Jo Love, project manager polymers at Pera told us: “Lots of technology that we investigated did not make it into the prototype, such as the photovoltaic power source.”
At the same time, the idea to inject the plastic around the components was rejected – because this would make it difficult to take apart.
The crux of the device is that it senses which pills have been taken, and which have not, by breaking conducting tracks in the pill encapsulation blister pack. It then advises patients that they need to take one – or, if they have taken one recently, that they don’t need to take another.
The prototype is still quite chunky, but Love says it will eventually be made “pocket size”. The audio software has to include the patient information leaflet, the structure and format of which are now “officially approved”.
Alastair Green of co-developers, AK Industries also saw other potential applications for the technology, such as anything that needs compliance monitoring, or any kind of assembly process, where removing a component from a pack might elicit some message such as, “Locate in position 13A”. This could be used by the military, where technicians often have to make field repairs with equipment with which they are unfamiliar – including in the dark – and aircraft maintenance, where inserting the wrong length screw when replacing a part can have catastrophic results.
Pera, AK Industries

Tom Shelley

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