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A smart home agent for medication compliance


Collaborators: Dave Knight,
Ruth Wylie.
Duration: 4 weeks, HCII Interface and Interaction Design Project
Artifacts: Process Book Site

EasyMed is an intelligent Smart Home agent designed to increase medication compliance. In addition to the home and portable dispensers, the easyMed reminder system is instantiated on several everyday items, such as wristwatches and key chains. easyMed provides three levels of support inside and outside of the home:

  • status indication for when people need to determine if they took their medication.
  • proactive prevention for helping people avoid situations where they would find themselves without their medication.
  • active notification for helping people remember to take their medication when daily routines change.

Concept validation

For our concept validation, we recruited participants from the Academy for Lifelong Learning (add link). We held two sessions, each lasting approximately 40 minutes. We presented participants with nine scenarios and probed whether or not the need being presented was a true need.

Our main findings were that people wanted reminders in multiple locations; an agent solely in the house would fail often due to the active lifestyles and frequent traveling done by our users. The agent needs to personalizable and be able to adjust to the needs of the users as they age and as routine changes. Users wanted to maintain control of their medication routine and disliked the scenarios in which the agent took a strong and active roll. Instead participants preferred scenarios in which they were responsible for remembering to take their medicines but the agent served as a safety net when they forgot or status notification to let them know if they had already taken their pills. More detailed findings from each of our nine scenarios are presented below.

We compiled a handout for our concept validation sessions containing all our scenarios.



EasyMed is not a single device but an integrated system which combines at-home as well as portable dispensers with augmented everyday items like a wristwatch and keychain. In order to elucidate the many aspects of easyMed, we created a video sketch with three scenes, each highlighting one of the systems main capabilities:

  • status notification.
  • pre-emptive reminder.
  • active reminder.

We completed several iterations in order to develop our final video sketch. Activities included the creation of a storyboard and rough video sketch.