This Smart Pill Cap Helps You Remember to Take Your Meds


Medications only work if you take them as prescribed. The problem is, many people don’t. In a 2013 study [PDF] of more than 1000 U.S. adults 40 years and older taking prescription medications for chronic illnesses, 57 percent of respondents admitted to missing doses of their medication in the 12 months prior, and 30 percent said they sometimes forgot whether or not they took their pills.

Pillsy, a new smart pill bottle cap, is designed to help people be more consistent with their medication regimen, according to Mashable. The cap tracks when the bottle has been opened to monitor whether or not you’ve taken your meds. It comes in two versions, one for vitamins and one for prescription medications, which will fit most regular pharmacy pill bottles and over-the-counter vitamin bottles. (If the cap doesn't fit your bottle, Pillsy provides you with an extra one that you can pour your pills into so that you can use the cap.)

Using the Pillsy app on your phone, you can set a time to get reminders about taking your meds. At, say, 7 a.m., the Pillsy cap will start beeping, and you’ll get a phone notification (or a text or phone call, if you prefer). When you open the cap, the app will automatically mark your dose as taken, and if you try to open it again later that day, it will warn you that you’re double-dosing.

If you need to take your pills but don’t have them on you at the time, you can snooze the notifications, and the app will notify you again when it senses the bottle is in Bluetooth range.

Pillsy could be especially useful for medications that you need to take at the same time every day, such as birth control pills. It can also be used to keep track of someone else’s pills, such as an older relative’s—you can set the notifications to call you if they miss a dose, although that requires them to have a smartphone in their house.

But this isn’t the only device of its kind on the market. There are already cheap timer-based pill bottle caps you can buy at the pharmacy that will keep track of how long it’s been since you’ve last opened your pill bottle. (They cost $10 for a three-pack at CVS.) Another smart bottle called AdhereTech works in a similar way, although it’s marketed to healthcare professionals rather than consumers.

The main issue with Pillsy is that for $39, you only get one cap. That’s great if you’re only taking one medication, but if you need to take multiple medications over the course of the day, you’ll need multiple caps. For multiple medications, you’re probably better off going with a (pricey) automatic pill dispenser like Hero, which will dish out single doses of all of your pills at once.

[h/t Mashable]

6 Fun Backgrounds to Use on Your Next Video Call

You might be stuck in the living room, but it doesn't have to look like it.
You might be stuck in the living room, but it doesn't have to look like it.
Ridofranz/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re struggling to find a perfectly decorated wall in your house to serve as the backdrop for your video calls with friends, family, and coworkers, we have good news: Video conferencing platform Zoom lets you customize your very own virtual background.

To do it, log into your Zoom account, go to “Settings” on the left side of your screen, and choose the "Meeting" tab. Scroll down to the “In Meeting (Advanced)” section, and then scroll down farther to make sure the “Virtual background” option is enabled. After that, open the Zoom application on your desktop, click on the “Settings” wheel in the upper right corner, and go to “Virtual Background.” There are a few automatic options, but you can choose your own image from your computer files by clicking on the plus-sign icon.

Now, the only thing left to do is decide which image will best set the tone for your next video call. From the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room to Schitt’s Creek’s Rosebud Motel, here are six of our favorites.

1. The Rosebud Motel lobby from Schitt’s Creek

schitt's creek rose motel lobby
It's not the Ritz-Carlton.

You can imagine that David is just out of frame, doing his best to carry on a silent—albeit with lots of expressive gesturing—conversation with Stevie at the front desk. (More Schitt's Creek backgrounds here.)

2. Carl and Ellie’s house from Up

carl and ellie's house from up
Balloons not included.
Walt Disney Pictures

If you’re hoping to create a calming atmosphere, look no further than the cozy little sitting room where Carl and Ellie grew old together in 2009's Up. (More Pixar backgrounds here.)

3. The attic study from Knives Out

knives out attic study
Nothing bad has ever happened here.

If your own study isn’t quite teeming with intriguing souvenirs and leather-bound volumes, feel free to borrow this one from the mansion in 2019’s Knives Out. (More Knives Out backgrounds here.)

4. The USS Enterprise from Star Trek

star trek's uss enterprise bridge
A great way to get your coworkers to fess up to being huge Trekkies., Twitter

Blame your spotty internet connection on the fact that you’re traveling through the galaxy at the speed of light with this background from the bridge of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. (More Star Trek backgrounds here.)

5. The New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room

new york public library reading room
You reserve the right to shush any coworkers who forgot to mute themselves.
New York Public Library

Bibliophiles who can’t make it to the library can still pay a virtual visit to the sumptuous Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library’s iconic Fifth Avenue location. (More New York Public Library backgrounds here.)

6. The Werk Room from RuPaul’s Drag Race

rupaul's drag race werk room
Sashay away from the screen if you're taking a bathroom break during the call.

Dazzle your coworkers by calling in from the vibrant room where all the magic—and most of the drama—happens on RuPaul’s Drag Race. If you happen to be decked out in an ensemble made entirely of things you found at the Dollar Store, even better. (More RuPaul's Drag Race backgrounds here.)

Turn Your Favorite Photos Into Works of Art With Google’s Art App

Edvard Munch's "The Scream"
Edvard Munch's "The Scream"
Edvard Munch, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

If your local art museum is closed, a new app from Google Arts & Culture will make the photos in your camera roll worthy of gallery consideration. As Gizmodo reports, the Art Transfer feature uses artificial intelligence to reimagine any image you upload in the style of a famous artist.

If you've already downloaded Arts & Culture for Android or iOS, hit the camera icon at the bottom of the app and select Art Transfer. From here, you can either snap a photo or choose an existing picture saved on your phone. Google then gives you a variety of art styles to choose from. You can transform your cat into Edvard Munch's The Scream, for example, or turn your brunch pic from last month into a piece of Yayoi Kusama pop art.

The feature doesn't just apply filters; it uses machine learning to edit the colors, textures, and even shapes in the image you upload.

Dog image inspired by Man from Naples.
Michele Debczak/Mental Floss, Google Arts & Culture

Pizza picture inspired by The Scream.
Michele Debczak/Mental Floss, Google Arts & Culture

Two years ago, Google Arts & Culture rolled out a similar feature that matched users' selfies to their art lookalikes. The difference with this one is that instead of showing you existing art, it creates an entirely new image by combining your photo with a famous artwork.

You can download Arts & Culture for free today from the App Store or Google Play. After having fun with the new feature, you can use the app to virtually explore landmarks, museums, and other cultural institutions from the comfort of your home.

[h/t Gizmodo]