The Project Brief
The purpose of this project was to create a tangible prototype that solves a real-world problem. The most challenging part of this was to identify a problem that was both relevant, and practical. The problem I identified was the issue of medication-related hospitalisations among the elderly population. More commonly referred to as compliance.
It is well reported that the percentage of older people in the Australian population is increasing (DaVanzo, 2001). In 1950 the percentage of the population over 65 was ~4%, by 2000 it had reached ~6.5% and it is projected to continue to increase into the future (DaVanzo, 2001). As a result, the problems that the elderly population face become increasingly important to address. A serious problem within this population is medication compliance. Around 2-3% of hospital admissions in Australia are medication related and of those, omission or overdose are the most frequent type of incident (Roughead & Semple, 2009).
The solution that I developed is aimed at assisting older people with taking their regular medication by implementing a reminder system that is built into a standard tablet box. Having an alarm to remind the user to take pills is great, but it is very easy to turn off the alarm and then forget to take the pills. Additionally, It can be frustrating when the user receives an alert while they are far away from their tablets - perhaps sitting down or doing something else, which can often result in them forgetting to take the tablets. To address these two problems, the prototype is able to sense if there are any tablets in today’s compartment and sense when the user is nearby, to provide conveniently timed alerts.