On a recent Internet of Things Podcast episode, we took a call from our Voicemail hotline segment with a clever IoT tip to manage medication. There are connected pill dispensers on the market, but they’re not cheap and some require a monthly subscription fee on top of your medicine costs. A repurposed sensor is much less expensive as a potential solution.
Our caller attached the magnet from a car door sensor on the back of his pill container and keeps it in his bathroom’s medicine cabinet. He then set up an automation to send him a notification if he hasn’t taken his prescription by a specific time. Doing this ensures he either takes his medicine before that time or, if he doesn’t, he’ll be reminded to take it.
It’s a clever reuse of smart home technology because magnetic door and window sensors are great for this unique purpose. Personally, I think such sensors are overlooked, mainly because their main use is for security purposes. Thinking outside the box a little, I’ve used an unobtrusive magnetic sensor on a closet door.
When the door is opened, the sensor recognizes this state and fires off a command to illuminate the smart lights in the closet. Once we close the door, the lights are then shut off thanks to the sensor. I’ve used the same approach, again with a smart bulb, to let my family know when I’m recording our podcast. This is their sign to keep the noise down or else risk an unintended cameo appearance on the podcast.
It’s easy to forget that there’s nothing “magical” about door and window sensors. They’re essentially a switch with two states: on and off. Unlike a traditional light switch that you manually flip or tap, however, it’s a magnet that determines the on or off state. A magnet close to the sensor housing indicates an off or closed position of the switch. Move that magnet away from the sensor and you have an on, or open, state.
By using the on or off state in a way that best suits your situation, you can do some interesting things with these. Like kicking off a custom room routine, flashing an indicator light, or having an automated pill reminder system.
To hear this week’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the Internet of Things Podcast below: