As the field of devices
that let caregivers step away
and give the elderly more independence
expands, it was just a matter of time before digital pill boxes hit the mainstream. The aptly-dubbed med-minder holds one's pills in separated compartments to divvy up the days, and send out audible alerts (as well as flashing LEDs) when it's time to take them, records the time of opening in its built-in memory, uploads the usage data automatically to a server, and allows for access to personal chart trackers that show if any days were skipped over or taken late. The 5- x 3.5- x 1-inch box stays permanently connected to both a telephone and AC outlet, and once a day it dials up a toll free number to deliver the latest statistics. The box can apparently be ordered right now for $169, but if your great grandmother figures out that she can just crack the lid and dump the pills, you're still back to square one.