The right pills, at the right time

How to enhance patient adherence to the medication plan?

Pillbox is an automatic pill dispenser for the elders. The doctor can set the weekly therapy remotely, and the device automatically dispenses the right amount of drugs at the right times. An app enables the patient to keep track of the therapy and get in touch easily with the doctor.

Designed and prototyped in 24 hours at Cisco DevNet Hackathon Milan, 2015, with Andrea Desiato, Alberto Sarullo, Andrea Germinario.

— The problem


of people 65 and older on three or more medications are mismanaging their prescriptions


people with treatable ailments die each year in the US because they do not take their medication properly


yearly costs for the U.S. healthcare system due to medication non-compliance

— The system

The hackathon brief required the use of one or more of Cisco’s technologies: We used Jabber to manage the audio/video communication between doctor and patient, and EIoT to control the device through PoE.

The doctor can set the therapy remotely and get notifications if the pills are not taken by the patient, thanks to sensors in the device. The patient can check the adherence and get notifications when it’s time to refill the device.

The device automatically dispenses the right number of pills at right time, and alerts the user with lights and sounds; a notification is also sent to the user’s smartphone.

The working prototype uses a special Cisco device to give power to the device and connect it to the Internet, managing data inputs and outputs, all with just one cable (PoE, Power over Ethernet).

— Awards

Cisco DevNet Hackathon Grand Prize Winner, 2015