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This Smart Pill Cap Helps You Remember to Take Your Meds

Pillsy
Pillsy

Medications only work if you take them as prescribed. The problem is, many people don’t. In a 2013 study [PDF] of more than 1000 U.S. adults 40 years and older taking prescription medications for chronic illnesses, 57 percent of respondents admitted to missing doses of their medication in the 12 months prior, and 30 percent said they sometimes forgot whether or not they took their pills.

Pillsy, a new smart pill bottle cap, is designed to help people be more consistent with their medication regimen, according to Mashable. The cap tracks when the bottle has been opened to monitor whether or not you’ve taken your meds. It comes in two versions, one for vitamins and one for prescription medications, which will fit most regular pharmacy pill bottles and over-the-counter vitamin bottles. (If the cap doesn't fit your bottle, Pillsy provides you with an extra one that you can pour your pills into so that you can use the cap.)

Using the Pillsy app on your phone, you can set a time to get reminders about taking your meds. At, say, 7 a.m., the Pillsy cap will start beeping, and you’ll get a phone notification (or a text or phone call, if you prefer). When you open the cap, the app will automatically mark your dose as taken, and if you try to open it again later that day, it will warn you that you’re double-dosing.

If you need to take your pills but don’t have them on you at the time, you can snooze the notifications, and the app will notify you again when it senses the bottle is in Bluetooth range.

Pillsy could be especially useful for medications that you need to take at the same time every day, such as birth control pills. It can also be used to keep track of someone else’s pills, such as an older relative’s—you can set the notifications to call you if they miss a dose, although that requires them to have a smartphone in their house.

But this isn’t the only device of its kind on the market. There are already cheap timer-based pill bottle caps you can buy at the pharmacy that will keep track of how long it’s been since you’ve last opened your pill bottle. (They cost $10 for a three-pack at CVS.) Another smart bottle called AdhereTech works in a similar way, although it’s marketed to healthcare professionals rather than consumers.

The main issue with Pillsy is that for $39, you only get one cap. That’s great if you’re only taking one medication, but if you need to take multiple medications over the course of the day, you’ll need multiple caps. For multiple medications, you’re probably better off going with a (pricey) automatic pill dispenser like Hero, which will dish out single doses of all of your pills at once.

[h/t Mashable]

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The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
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Jeff Bezos Is Helping to Build a Clock Meant to Keep Time for 10,000 Years
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo

Few human inventions are meant to last hundreds of years, much less thousands. But the 10,000 Year Clock is designed to keep accurate time for millennia. First proposed in 1989, the long-lasting timepiece is finally being installed inside a mountain in western Texas, according to CNET.

The organization building the clock, the Long Now Foundation, wanted to create a tribute to thinking about the future. Founded by computer scientist Danny Hillis and Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand, the group boasts famous members like musician Brian Eno and numerous Silicon Valley heavyweights. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is putting up the $42 million necessary to complete the project, writing that “it's a special Clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking."

Measuring 500 feet tall when it's completed, the clock will run on thermal power and synchronize each day at solar noon. Every day, a “chime generator” will come up with a different sequence of rings, never repeating a sequence day to day. On specific anniversaries—one year, 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years—it will animate a mechanical system within one of five rooms carved into the mountain. On the first anniversary, for instance, the clock will animate an orrery, a model of the solar system. Since they don’t expect to be alive for many of the future anniversaries, the clock’s creators won't determine animations for 100, 1000, or 10,000 years—that'll be left up to future generations. (To give you an idea of just how far away 10,000 years is, in 8000 B.C.E., humans had just started to domesticate cows for the first time.)

Though you can sign up to be notified when the clock is finished, it won’t be easy to see it up close. The nearest airport is several hours’ drive away, and the mountain is 2000 feet above the valley floor. So you may have to be content with seeing it virtually in the video below.

Clock of the Long Now - Installation Begins from The Long Now Foundation on Vimeo.

[h/t CNET]

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Tynker
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Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons
Tynker
Tynker

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker

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