Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Identify Common Pills Using Mobile Phone

For people who have to take several different medications and for those who have to hand out many different pills (e.g. hospital staff, nursng home staff, relatives) identification of each pill is important and can be quite difficult as many pills look very similar despite having completely different contents. There are only a small number of shapes and colours available to pill manufacturers!

Mistakes can have serious consequences and are not uncommon. Referred to as medicine-related problems (MRP's) symptoms often include

  • excessive drowsiness
  • confusion
  • depression
  • delirium
  • insomnia
  • Parkinson’s-like symptoms
  • incontinence
  • muscle weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • falls and fractures
  • changes in speech and memory.

This article in the New Scientist Journal describes a new 'App' (a computer program that runs on a smartphone or tablet computer) that allows the user to identify most common pills (568 currently tested)  from their shape and colour just by taking a photo of the pill using a phone camera. The App should be available soon.

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