The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ISO phone camera app to recognize pills

Historically I've only ever needed to take 1 pill, an antihistamine for my allergies, circa once a day. Ah, youth!

Unfortunately, now I need to take more than one pill, more than once a day. (I'm an overweight guy over 50, with a history of allergies - you guess at what my medical conditions are.) Enough that I want to carry the pills that I will use in the next day or so around in a pill carrier in my pocket.  And I notice that it can be hard to tell the pills apart.

I started off with an old film case, with all the pills in one place. But this became confusing: which pill is which?

I just noticed that there are several different designs, some with compartments by day of the week.

Hmm... I suppose that keeping the pills physically separate may reduce contamination - medication 1 rubbing off on medication 2.

I am sure that there will be some pill carriers that have little codes of letters on the boxes that remind you which pill is which.  But those make the box bigger - and you have to remember which code belongs to which pill.

I tried little slips of paper, or little envelopes.  Haven't found any tiny enough.

So, thinking about this today, I decided to take photographs of the different pills.  So far, all of them have been different enough in color and shape and size and markings that I can tell them apart - so long as I remember what they look like. Or so long as I have a photograph to remind me.

Which causes me to wonder if there is yet a "pill recognizer" app?  An app that can run, on Google Goggles or whatever, and tell you what pills it is looking at? May disambiguate based on what pills it knows you are taking.


Who would have thought that there could be technology involved in taking pills?

Different varieties and purposes of pillboxes.

Photographs, pill recognizer apps.

Heck: just realizing that I needed a pill carrier in my pocket, and a "health supplies" bag - was a learning experience.  I can't just keep all of this stuff on a shelf in my medicine cabinet - especially since I need to move it around if I travel.  Bags are not sophisticated technology, but they are ... (By the way, I am looking for a bag that is better suited to carrying bottles and vials.  Currently I'm using an old bookbag from a conference.)


Here's another: pill dippers.  Take some pills that you have received, that are easily confused with other pills that you already have.  And dip them in some sort of uniqifying color coating, that dissolves in all the appropriate ways in your moth, esophagus, or stomach.


I have often heard that doctors complain about patient non-compliance: patients who don't take their prescriptions.

There is the issue of cost - many folks in the USA may only be able to afford to take a prescription once a week or as needed, when the doctor prescribes it to be taken daily or more often (fortunately I have good health insurance, so that does not apply to me, at this time).

... I wonder if compliance is better in countries with socialized medicine? ...

Anyway, apart from the issue of cost, this pill taking is just plain confusing:

  • some have to be taken with food.
  • some without
  • some at night
  • some in the morning
Let alone when your doctor suggests that you take something in a way not described on the Rx label.