Flashing lights? It’s now time to take your pills


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Many people depend on a daily alarm to jolt them from slumber. Now a new device may remind folks to take their daily medication.

Last week, Vitality Inc. and Varolii Corp. unveiled the GlowCap, a wireless, Internet-connected bottle cap that uses light and sound to alert users that it’s time to take their medication.


The cap is embedded with a light that flashes orange at a preset time when a user is supposed to take the medication. If a cap is not removed within an hour -- signaling that the daily dose has not been taken -- an alarm will sound in the second hour that gradually escalates ‘from a three-note arpeggio to an 11-note arpeggio,’ Vitality President Josh Wachman said.

If the GlowCap remains unpopped after two hours, a patient will receive an automated call that asks a series of questions on why he or she missed the dose: Traveling? Need a refill? Bad side effects?

Patients can prearrange for that information to be available to their doctor or caregiver, along with weekly e-mail and monthly print reports detailing the days in which a patient has remembered or neglected to take the medication.

‘We call it the OnStar for your pill bottles,’ Wachman said. ‘Most people have someone who cares about them, but they may not know that the patient is forgetting to take their pills.’

The device, which can be bought on for $99, comes with a night light that connects wirelessly to AT&T’s cellular network, a bottle cap and a six-month subscription to the service. After six months, subscriptions cost $15 a month.

--Shan Li