A new smart appliance called Hero is a high tech way to organize and take medications.
Even the best-intentioned folks can have trouble taking their medications: you might miss a dose or get off schedule, especially when you have a lot of prescriptions to take.
Now, a new smart appliance called Hero aims to help.
"The fact that only 50 percent of people take their medication is pretty good," explained Kal Vepuri, founder and CEO of Hero.
He believes his device - a WiFi connected, pill organizer and dispenser - will improve that number.
Hero is sort of like a vending machine for medicine: it does all the sorting and scheduling for you.
Just load it up with the pills you need to take - they can be prescription or non-prescription - and it will count them out and dispense them at just the right time.
"It has to be something that’s so easy that anyone can use it - at home in your kitchen - and it would be something that you would feel comfortable with," said Vepuri.
He got the idea for the gadget after his mom, a doctor herself, got a condition that forced her to take a complex regime of medications.
"I basically couldn’t help but try to figure it out. Initially, as a labor of love related to my mother... and then eventually as I started to learn more about the problem, found out that this affects 40 million families in this country," said Vepuri.
Hero is an automated, in-home solution. It can hold up to ten types of pills at once. The app guides you through the process of loading the pills into the dispenser, collecting details about when you’re supposed to take them and for how long.
Then, when it’s time, the device, and your phone alerts you. Caregivers can follow along from their phone to see information about completed, missed and skipped doses.
"Our goal is to save lives - first and foremost. improve livelihood and also basically reducing cost," said Vepuri.
Hero’s secret: a precise system that can single out the exact number of tablets in a dose.
"The magic of hero is really kind of in here... in the sense that you can put any medication in the device and not think about it anymore," concluded Vepuri.
Hero is available now at $400 for the device, which includes a 1-year subscription to the Hero service. You can also configure the machine to re-order pills automatically. It's an expensive way to manage meds but for caregivers who can't necessarily be around 24/7 to monitor meds, Hero is like having a virtual nurse to sort, manage and dole out medications.
Rich DeMuro is the Tech Reporter at KTLA TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles and author of the bestselling iPhone guide 101 Handy Tech Tips for the iPhone.