Smart pill bottles may not be the best and only answer to patient compliance with prescription medications, but if they’re not it won’t be for a lack of trying by developers worldwide. We’ve written before about smart pill bottles and boxes from Euclid mHealth, PillDrill, AdhereTech, and others.

Researchers at King Abdullah Universit of Science and Technology (KAUST) recently published a paper in Flexible and Printed Electronics that explained how they integrated a paper sensor in a pill bottle lid. The sensor detects temperature and humidity and sends SMS messages when someone tampers with the bottle. The sensor also transmits an SMS alert when it detects too much moisture in medication. The KAUST researchers developed the paper sensor with circuits drawn with conductive ink.

The smart pill bottle consists of several smart components. A 3-D printed pill bottle lid that counts dispensed pills with light-emitting diodes, the paper-based temperature and humidity sensor, an outer layer of touch-sensitive, conductive tape, and a flexible control module. The control module interprets the signals from the other elements and when necessary sends alerts via Bluetooth to associated cell phones.

Groups such as the researchers at Kaust continue to develop discrete and integrated modules for pill bottles that track medication compliance, abuse, and even medication integrity. At some point in the near future pharmacies and dispensaries may be able to order intelligent pill bottles equipped with a custom selection of sensors chosen from a menu of available technologies.