Forgetfulness and visual impairment are the major common health problems faced by the elderly folks. Apparently, both of these illnesses are indeed dangerous especially for those patients who are under medication. In order to help the elderly patients to be independent and prevent them from forgetting about their vital medications, a talking diary which has the ability to announce times and play recorded time messages will be adapted and structured for our design purpose.
The connection of our proposed circuit is illustrated in Figure-1. It consists of microcontroller (PIC16F877A), real time clock, SD memory card, audio amplifier and a speaker. In our design, the microcontroller is working as ‘electronic brain’. It is programmed to display the output time at LCD and act as an interface between the real time clock and our SD card. The SD card consists of recorded voice message. At the preset time, Real Time Clock (RTC) circuitry will send trigger pulse to microcontroller to playback the messaging recorded inside the chip. The sound bin format in digital will be converted to analog through DAC. The produced output is amplified and displayed as spoken message through the speaker. The main part of our prototype design is illustrated in Figure-2. The function of each component is described as following:
i. LCD screen- to display time
ii. Speaker- to plays the reminder message at the preset time
iii. Stop button – to stop the reminder message from playing repeatedly
iv. Medicine box- to allow caregivers to place the medicine prescribed by doctor; can be detached from the device for cleaning purpose
v. Time adjustable button- to adjust the time
vi. Volume controller- to adjust message volume based on user ( patients) preference.
This prototype is still under the design stage; hence its performance testing has yet to be carried out. Further improvements can be implemented on this prototype as below:
i. Date system into the clock
Our design able to show time either 12 or 24 hours systems. It can be further improved by incorporating the date system.
ii. LED Lighting Contrast
In order to perceive displayed, contrast control should be included in our circuit design. By adjusting the contrast, it will help to maintains the correct black setting thus provide comfortable viewing brightness.
iii. Snooze Function
Part of the patient will fall back into a deep sleep if they didn’t fully awaken after the reminder message is played. Thus, the reminder messages should be snoozed for 9 minutes, with a maximum 3 snoozes before then alarm will be automatically turn off