Smart pill bottle caps have existed for a while now, tracking every time the bottle is accessed. But, most of the world relies on blister packs and a new product will soon be coming out that can track those as well. The Popit Sense device is a small plastic dongle that bites into and tightly attaches to just about any blister pack, and then senses every time a pill has been popped out.
We spoke with Timo Heikkilä and Teemu Piirainen, the co-founders of Popit Ltd., a Finnish company, about the technology within their device and how it will help patients, providers, and researchers.
The company’s proprietary technology, called the Popit Sense, includes patents that reliably sense the usage a blister pack. Three types of sensors are used that work together to provide redundancy. One is a contact microphone that listens for the characteristic “pop” sound produced when a pill or tablet is pushed out. An accelerometer is used to detect motion of the blister pack, and therefore when it’s actually being moved around. Finally, a touch sensor knows when the pack is being touched, which we’re guessing is thanks to the conductivity of the metal lining blister packs. A standard coin cell battery powers the device, which should be sufficient for about 12 months of usage, an impressive feat for a device that constantly monitors usage.
The device pairs to a matching smartphone app via standard Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and uploads all the readings on when the blister pack was used. Reminders and alarms can be set if the drugs are not taken per a prescription and doctors and researchers can access usage data remotely.
The company will initially offer the technology directly to consumers, starting with an Indiegogo campaign that will go live next Tuesday. Women on birth control using blister packs will be the first target audience, but anyone should be able to take advantage of the Popit Sense. Yet, the Popit technology was designed for clinical use and clinical studies particularly in mind, as it can help to improve compliance, confirm drug intake, and assemble data from multiple patients with ease.
Product page: Popit Sense…
Indiegogo campaign: Popit – Never Miss Your Pill Again