A pillbox that’s smart enough to tattle on you

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UBox is a smart pillbox that lights up and chirps to tell users when it’s time to take medication. It dispenses the pills, then locks to prevent double dosing and keep out curious children. Through a smartphone app, uBox offers dosing reminders and can be set to notify family members and health care professionals when medication isn’t taken as prescribed.

Sara Cinnamon and Goutam Reddy are co-CEOs of Abiogenix, which makes the uBox. They launched the first commercial version in 2008 and quit their day jobs after the company graduated from Chicago-based Sandbox Industries’ Healthbox accelerator last fall. Abiogenix has offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

Why it could take off: Medication nonadherence wasted $317 billion in 2011, according to the latest Express Scripts report. UBox could make a dent with its ability to text and email loved ones or doctors when, for example, an elderly patient has missed a dose.

Where it came from: Cinnamon and Reddy met at MIT and created an early version of the uBox to help health care workers monitor the meds of tuberculosis patients in developing countries.

How it’s going: An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign this year helped put about 30 uBoxes in the hands of individual customers. Now Abiogenix is working to build 200 more in time for the holidays. UBox is available for preorder at my-ubox.com.

The company is also adopting FDA regulations to make the uBox reimbursable by insurance companies. Cinnamon and Reddy are looking for more funding from angel groups, research grants and competitions, in an effort to to expand their engineering team and focus on launching second-generation designs to suit a wider variety of needs. “We want to get to all the root causes of nonadherence,” Cinnamon says.

What’s next: Cinnamon and Reddy are in talks with hospitals, physician groups and rehabilitation centers around the country to test the uBox in institutional environments.

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