AI: Award-winning prototype of a medication dispenser for the elderly and disabled

Pharmabot is the student project winner of the Healthbot award for devising AI-based solutions: it is a medication dispenser for elderly or disabled individuals.

Pharmabot is a prototype medication dispenser for elderly or physically and sensorially disabled individuals, which reminds the user of their therapy and schedule using auditory and visual sensors, a mechanical arm, and personalized notifications for caregivers. It was developed by students from the De Amicis Cattaneo Institute in Rome and is the winner of the first Healthbot prize, a contest created to develop artificial intelligence solutions for health within the Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine Fattore J program.

Addressing various health needs

The projects of the fourth edition of Fattore J were presented to a panel of experts during RomeCup 2024, an event dedicated to robotics and artificial intelligence aimed at spreading innovation by connecting schools, research centers, companies, universities, and institutions.

Mixed teams of high school and university students joined forces to create diversified projects designed to meet the various needs of the health sector. Among these, solutions to support therapeutic adherence and medication intake reminders took the podium: in first place was “Pharmabot” – developed by the De Amicis Cattaneo Institute in Rome – followed by “Smemobox” – created by another Roman institute, Fermi – and projects to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. In third place was “VisionAll” (ITIS Ettore Majorana di Cassino), dedicated to those with visual impairments.

Other participants developed devices for early disease diagnosis, such as students from the Federico Caffè Institute in Rome who created “Project B.o.n.e” – software capable of early osteoporosis detection and supporting doctors’ work – or those from ITIS Omar di Novara who developed the “Parkinson Detector” program, which uses Artificial Intelligence to recognize human figures in a video and measure limb movement angles, potential early indicators of Parkinson’s disease.

Finally, a project dedicated to virtual assistance: the “Team Marconi” from the Marconi Institute in Nocera Inferiore envisioned creating a virtual medical assistant that interacts with a wearable device detecting vital parameters of patients engaged in sports activities.

Technology and AI: revolutionizing the healthcare industry

The projects were evaluated by a jury composed of Alfonso Molina, Director of the Fondazione Mondo Digitale, Michele Cornella, Business Intelligence Manager of Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine Italy, Massimo Walter Rivolta, researcher at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Milan, and Daniela Mondatore from Cittadinanzattiva, with the aim of rewarding the most innovative technological solution with the greatest impact on patient health.

“Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the healthcare sector, offering significant opportunities to support clinicians in early diagnosis and personalized treatment of numerous conditions,” comments Federica Mazzotti, Business Transformation Director of J&J Innovative Medicine Italy. “At J&J, we contribute to creating conditions for a society ready to embrace innovations and translate them into concrete opportunities for patients. I want to thank all the students who participated with commitment in the HealthBot contest, demonstrating great creativity and awareness of how new technologies and AI can serve the medicine of the future.”

Daniela Mondatore from Cittadinanzattiva stated: “We are pleased to participate in the Fattore J contest: we strongly believe in innovation and AI serving healthcare, which can truly be a game-changer in terms of access to care. In 2002, we included the right to innovation in the European Charter of Patients’ Rights adopted by the European Council. Today, young people have an extra gear to put their creativity and technological component at the service of citizens.”