Technology for successful aging shown at White House conference

At first glance, the blue, plastic container marked with letters representing the days of the week looks like an ordinary pill dispenser many seniors use to keep on schedule with their medication doses.

It is, indeed, a pill dispenser, with its seven individually marked compartments, but that's where its ordinariness ends. When one of the tiny compartments is opened, a signal is sent wirelessly to a computer system that records medications taken. What makes the device truly different is that it is an intelligent system that keeps track of the medications taken and knows when the senior is nearby, reminding him only when the reminder is needed and likely to be effective.

"The data generated by the MedTracker can also be used to recognize if the senior has begun to need more assistance with their medication, and may even be helpful in identifying early memory changes" says Tamara Hayes, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Oregon Health & Science University's OGI School of Science and Engineering, and lead investigator on the MedTracker project.

The intelligent MedTracker pill box is one of a handful of innovative devices OHSU researchers are developing to unobtrusively monitor how seniors go about their day-to-day lives in their homes. The technologies are an important part of the research being conducted within the National Institutes of Health-funded center ORCATECH, or Oregon Roybal Center for Aging & Technology.

ORCATECH, a collaboration of academic, industry and community partners, is researching and developing technology to assess how seniors function in their home environment. The goal is to help them maintain their independence, and optimize their health and quality of life, by discretely collecting data for intelligent computing systems that can detect changes in health long before they would affect the quality of life of the elders and their caregivers. The ultimate goal is for the integrated intelligen

Contact: Jonathan Modie
Oregon Health & Science University

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