A Modular Pill Dispenser Supporting Therapies at Home

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11153)


Modern technologies support people’s life in multiple contexts like the assistive one. The pervasiveness of the so-called “Smart Objects”, related to the Internet of Things technologies, is boosting this in many ways. The support for old people to take the daily tablets through an automatic device is an example. This work presents the prototype of a modular pill dispenser customized by end users according to their specific therapy needs. The prototype is a physical and modular set of pillboxes each containing the pills to be assumed in a therapy. The presented scenario at a specific time, set by the user, one or more pillboxes blink to alert the patient that is pill time. If for a given time interval the patient do not take the pill a sound notification is activated and plays for a given duration. If still nothing happens then a notification is sent to the caregiver’s smartphone. The behavior of the pill dispenser is defined by the end user and can be modified any time. One peculiarity of the pill dispenser is that the number of physical boxes are decided by the user and can change any time to best fit the specific therapy. The final goal of this work is to push not professional users, in particular older people, to take advantages of new technologies to improve their life.


IoT Pill dispenser Elderly therapy 



This work was partially supported by the EDOC@WORK Project. We are grateful to Nicola Di Stefano and Michele Ruta for developing to the first version of the prototype.


  1. 1.
    Kelly, S.D.T., Suryadevara, N.K., Mukhopadhyay, S.C.: Towards the implementation of IoT for environmental condition monitoring in homes. IEEE Sens. J. 13(10), 3846–3853 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Caivano, D., Cassano, F., Fogli, D., Lanzilotti, R., Piccinno, A.: We@Home: a gamified application for collaboratively managing a smart home. In: De Paz, J.F., Julián, V., Villarrubia, G., Marreiros, G., Novais, P. (eds.) ISAmI 2017. AISC, vol. 615, pp. 79–86. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  3. 3.
    Istepanian, R.S.H., Sungoor, A., Faisal, A., Philip, N.: Internet of m-health things‘m-iot’ (2011)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Park, S.W., Ko, H.J., Park, Y.I., Yoo, S.J., Han, Y.C.: Controller, and patch type automated external defibrillator for controlling defibrillation using the same. US Patent 9,757,580, 12 September 2017Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Moulding, T.: Proposal for a time-recording pill dispenser as a method for studying and supervising the self-administration of drugs. Am. Rev. Respir. Dis. 85(5), 754–757 (1962)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Morak, J., Schwarz, M., Hayn, D., Schreier, G.: Feasibility of mhealth and near field communication technology based medication adherence monitoring. In: 2012 Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), pp. 272–275. IEEE (2012)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Caivano, D., Fogli, D., Lanzilotti, R., Piccinno, A., Cassano, F.: Supporting end users to control their smart home: design implications from a literature review and an empirical investigation. J. Syst. Softw. 144, 295–313 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dimauro, G., Caivano, D., Girardi, F., Ciccone, M.M.: The patient centered electronic multimedia health fascicle-EMHF. In: 2014 IEEE Workshop on Biometric Measurements and Systems for Security and Medical Applications (BIOMS) Proceedings, pp. 61–66. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Yeole, A.S., Kalbande, D.R.: Use of internet of things (IoT) in healthcare: a survey. In: Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Women in Research 2016, pp. 71–76. ACM (2016)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Guinard, D., Trifa, V., Mattern, F., Wilde, E.: From the internet of things to the web of things: resource-oriented architecture and best practices. In: Uckelmann, D., Harrison, M., Michahelles, F. (eds.) Architecting the Internet of Things, pp. 97–129. Springer, Heidelberg (2011). Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morales, M.T.S.V.: Study on the use of a smart pillbox to improve treatment compliance. Aten. primaria 41(4), 185–191 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hayes, T.L., Hunt, J.M., Adami, A., Kaye, J.A.: An electronic pillbox for continuous monitoring of medication adherence. In: 28th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS 2006, pp. 6400–6403. IEEE (2006)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mira, J.J., et al.: A spanish pillbox app for elderly patients taking multiple medications randomized controlled trial. J. Med. Internet Res. 16(4) (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Buono, P., Cassano, F., Legretto, A., Piccinno, A.: A homemade pill dispenser prototype supporting elderly. In: Garrigós, I., Wimmer, M. (eds.) ICWE 2017. LNCS, vol. 10544, pp. 120–124. Springer, Cham (2018). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fischer, G., Fogli, D., Piccinno, A.: Revisiting and broadening the meta-design framework for end-user development. In: Paternò, F., Wulf, V. (eds.) New Perspectives in End-User Development, pp. 61–97. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  16. 16.
    Costabile, M.F., Fogli, D., Mussio, P., Piccinno, A.: A meta-design approach to end-user development. In: IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), vol. 2005, pp. 308–310. IEEE Computer Society (2005)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bernstein, P.A.: Middleware: a model for distributed system services. Commun. ACM 39(2), 86–98 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di InformaticaUniversitá di Bari Aldo MoroBariItaly

Personalised recommendations