Students create app to help elderly with medications

By Lo Hsin-chen and Jake Ching  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Apr 11, 2018 - Page 4

A mobile phone app developed by two high-school students in Pingtung City to help elderly people keep track of the medication they are taking is to be made available for free.

Pingtung County Ping Rong High School student Tu Pen-chih (涂本智) said he lived at his grandfather’s house in northern Taiwan until he was five years old, when he moved south with his parents.

The idea for the app came from his grandfather’s unwillingness, or sometimes forgetfulness, to take his diabetes medication, Tu said, adding that his grandfather would sometimes refuse to take his medicine for emotional reasons.

“I wanted to use what I was learning to help,” Tu said.

Tu, a third-year student at the school’s Informational Science Division, said he collaborated on the app with second-year student Kuo Hsiu-chuan (郭秀娟), who is at the top of her class.

“We spent half a year developing a sound recognition system using near-field communication [NFC] protocols, which allowed my family to make recordings that would be broadcast from my grandfather’s cellphone at a certain time to remind him to take his medication,” Tu said.

People can also keep track of the medicines they are taking by scanning a preset NFC “card” with the app, Tu said.

The app is also designed to alert the user if they are taking the wrong drugs, and it will inform family members that the user has taken their medicine, he said.

Tu said he was sad that his grandfather passed away during the development of the app, which won first place in the Medical and Health category for high-school students at the National Youth Creative Application Contest award ceremony on March 28.

He believes there are many elderly people who are in need of such an app, Tu said.

Once they fine-tune the app, they plan to make it available for free on app stores, he said.