Umeå Institute of Design 2014 – 10 Day Project with Karl-Otto, Isabel and Felix


How can we change attitude towards medical devices? How can we provide proper medication management while we de-stigmatise the daily medication and the pill box? MEMO is an approach to provide a safe medication by guiding and notifying the user and, what's more, turning daily medication into a beautiful and playful experience.





The pill dispenser guides the user through a proper medication by creating different behaviors through light, motion and sound. Compared to nowadays pill dispensers that use typography and displays that can cause mistaking, MEMO itself is an ambient display to notify when necessary but giving the user his/her freedom and independence. It removed the stigma of daily medication – instead,  the pill dispenser turns into a table top object, the different light, sound and motion interactions unobtrusively raise awareness for the medication.




The pill dispenser MEMO consists of a vase that holds and charges seven pill boxes, one for each day of the week with color coding helps distinguish the boxes. Each box holds a number of compartments for the actual dose. The user is visually guided by light signals both the tip of each box and the individual compartment, and the vertical movement of the boxes. The signals gradually increase, followed by a sound. The pill dispenser hence gets its own character, from calmly pulsating to nervously nudging. If the pill is still not taken, a notification is sent to the phone of a responsible person to intervene in case of emergency.



To avoid mistaking, the pill box to be taken is lifted and lit up

The actual pill compartment lit up


The MEMO app helps relatives or caretakers to keep track in case of emergency




Medication time -10'

Before it comes to the time for medication the actual pill box is slowly raised and the light of the lid pulsates to subtly hint the right box. 

Medication time

The actual pill boxes moves up and down in a pulsating pace as well as the light on top.Additionally MEMO gives off a small sound to further notify the user. 


Medication time +10'

The behavior becomes more intense and notifying: MEMO is sending off a permanent sound while “impatiently” moving up and down and blinking to notify the user of the urgency of taking the medicine.


Sometimes, the redesign of medication doesn't ask for a better usability or functionality, but simply for a pleasant experience. 




Timeline for light, sound and motion





The collaboration with colleagues from MFA Advanced Product Design and from MFA Interaction Design included ideation, conception, Wizard of Oz user testing, high fidelity prototyping including Arduino, model building and movie shooting. 



First prototype using Arduino


User test set-up with manually controlled prototype


Manual movement at the shoot removed in post-production





I was involved in all stages of the process, and – according to everyone's interests and skills, mainly responsible for prototyping for user tests and final model, designing of the GUI and movie making and editing. We aimed to use a working prototype in the movie and use as little post-production in After Effects as possible. Little note: I was randomly seeking for an actor in a café and recruited Lars, who shared his amazing acting skills and location with us, right from the spot.