This Smart Pill Cap Helps You Remember to Take Your Meds


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]

The 'Pet First Aid' App From the Red Cross Prepares Pet Parents for Almost Any Situation


People who have owned a cat or dog for years know intimate facts about their pet's health—like how many pairs of shoes they can eat without getting sick, or how many hours a day they can sleep without warranting a trip to the vet. But pet parents just starting out are often left in the dark when it comes to decoding their fur baby's behaviors. The Red Cross aims to demystify the process of raising a pet with a new app called Pet First Aid.

As Life Hacker reports, the first aid app is designed to prepare pet parents for a range of situations regarding their pet's health. If your dog is panting particularly hard after a long walk, the app will tell you if their breathing rate is normal; if your cat looks dehydrated, it can show you how to test its capillary refill time.

The resource is best used as a study tool, so if a pet health emergency does occur, you'll be prepared for it. After reading up on guides detailing pet CPR and how to treat a pet that's bleeding, you can test your animal-care knowledge with built-in quizzes.

The Red Cross makes it clear that its app is no replacement for a licensed medical professional, and even gives you the option to upload your vet's phone number or search for nearby animal hospitals within the app. Hopefully, the app's features for non-emergency situations, like its pet-friendly hotel locator, will get the most use.

You can download Pet First Aid for free from the Google Play store.

[h/t Life Hacker]

5 Ways You Can Register to Vote in Less Than 5 Minutes


Not registered to vote? Time is running out. On Tuesday, November 6, U.S. citizens will have the opportunity to vote in hundreds of Congressional, gubernatorial, state, and local races, but most states require residents to register well before Election Day. If you’re super busy, rest assured—getting authorized to cast your ballot doesn’t need to be a tedious or time-consuming process. Once you’ve confirmed your local deadline, consider one of the simple registration tactics below.


National Voter Registration Day falls on September 25, 2018, and Google has rolled out a special new Doodle to celebrate the occasion. Click on the image, and you’ll be led to a Google search page for “how to register to vote,” with information on requirements for your state and links to sites that can help you register, like USAGov and Rock the Vote.


This year, Instagram has partnered with TurboVote, a voter registration app by the nonprofit Democracy Works, to help voters look up their state’s voting rules, register, and update their information. When you see one of the ads in your Instagram Feed or Stories, swipe up, and you’ll be led to TurboVote’s mobile webpage to register.

Once Election Day comes, Instagram will also have a special “I Voted” sticker that you can use in your own posts. When your followers click on the sticker, they’ll be taken to Get to the Polls, a site where they can find out where their local polling place is located.


Beginning September 25, U.S. Snapchat users who are 18 years or older can access voter registration information directly from their profile pages. When you click on your profile, you'll see a link to TurboVote on prompting you to register to vote. The message will also appear on the Snapchat Discover page and on the company's own Story. Tap the link and you’ll be taken to the TurboVote mobile site, where you can enter in your info and get started. If you want to share your registration status, you can use the special National Voter Registration Day filter on your posts.


Twitter is teaming up with TurboVote to get in on the election action, too. As part of the social network’s #BeAVoter campaign, when you log in to the site, you will see a prompt at the top of your timeline asking you if you've registered—and if you have, asking you to tweet about it. You’ll also see promoted tweets from @TwitterGov encouraging you to register. Click on either the timeline prompt or the promoted tweets and you’ll be taken to TurboVote’s site to complete the process.


Thanks to HelloVote—which bills itself as the first text message-based voter registration tool—you can now register to vote by text as well. Just text HELLO to (844) 344-3556 or go to in Facebook Messenger. The bot will ask you a series of questions to help you register. If your state allows instant registration, HelloVote will submit the electronic paperwork for you based on your answers. If not, don’t sweat it. You’ll receive the form in the mail along with a pre-addressed stamped envelope. Sign it, send it in to your local Board of Elections, and voila!—you’re all set to vote this November.