The goal of every effective consumer medical product is to be that perfect balance of attractiveness, simplicity, and practicality. Even modernizing something as basic as a pillbox requires seamless integration and minimal distraction to effectively and consistently improve medication adherence.
TinyLogics, a company out of Cambridge in the UK, thinks they’ve hit that sweet spot with a tiny new version of their smart pillbox that launched on Kickstarter earlier this month. TinyLogics was kind enough to send us a demo of their upcoming pillbox, the Memo Box Mini to review.
Firstly, an important disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this is a Kickstarter product that has not yet shipped to backers. While the company has already surpassed its funding goal and is selling a similar product, neither Kickstarter nor Medgadget guarantee projects or investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project.
We were quite surprised how tiny the Memo Box Mini actually was. With the footprint no bigger than a Zippo lighter and weighing close to nothing, the Memo Box Mini can easily fit into a shirt or pants pocket or a clutch. It’s discreet as well: the entire pillbox is a matte white plastic with a tiny combination LED/button and a covered micro-USB charging port on the back. A long groove along the front face assists your fingers in opening the lid. This pillbox could easily be mistaken for a plain old “dumb” pillbox. Inside are three compartments that hold up to six horse pills or 15 tiny tablets. It’s a simple design that users, especially the tech-adverse, will be comfortable using. Some users, however, might find it a bit too small and easy to misplace, but more on that below…
Management of the Memo Box Mini is done through the Memo Health app for iOS and Android. The free app alone is a perfectly capable medication reminder; you can add your medication, including dosage and a photo of the medication or instructions, then set an alarm. Adding a Memo Box is simply a matter of pressing the button on the back until it beeps, then tapping the ‘Add Smart Pillbox’ button in the app. Once added, you can sync your alarms with the pillbox and turn on a geofence to alert you if you’ve forgotten to bring your pillbox with you. Family members can also be notified if you forget to take your medication, and another alert can be programmed to remind you to refill your prescription. And if you’ve misplaced your pillbox nearby, you can ping it and make it beep so you can more easily find it.
At it’s simplest, Memo Box Mini’s integration with the Memo Health app works well; you wait for an alert, flip open the pillbox, and the app records the date and time it was opened and closed. And the pillbox itself has an impressive month-long battery life. But the app also has a number of additional alarm settings that we found confusing. For example, your pillbox can be programmed to “Smart Mode” which allows you to take your meds a little before your scheduled time without alerting you later. “Extended Alarm” alerts you every 10 minutes until you open the pillbox for a maximum of 90 minutes instead of 30. And the smartphone alarm and pillbox alarm have slightly different intervals. Inappropriate programming of alarms could easily lead to a kind of “alarm fatigue”, a real issue seen in clinics in which nurses and doctors develop a tendency to mentally block out alarms from the various clinical devices, rendering them far less effective.
- Small size makes this pillbox portable and discreet
- App as a whole is simple to use
- Long one-month battery life
- Small size and light weight also means the pillbox is easy to misplace
- Somewhat limited space for pills
- Confusing alarm settings within the app
Though it’s extremely small and a little on the plain side, it’s these qualities that might make the Memo Box Mini appropriate for anyone. Kickstarter pricing for the Memo Box Mini about $25 until March 7, 2017, and they’re expected to ship shortly after the campaign ends.
Kickstarter Campaign: Memo Box Mini: Smallest Smart Pillbox…
More info: Tiny Logics website…