Babies are adorably squishy, sweet smelling, little bundles of sunshine. But if you’re not ready to have one (or another one), taking a tiny little pill every day seems like a simple solution. And for many of us, it is; according to the reproductive health experts at the Guttmacher Institute, when taken every single day without fail, oral contraceptives are more than 99 percent effective. But if your memory isn’t quite perfect and you miss a few days here and there, the failure rate can be as high as 10 percent. But a new product could soon be a sanity-saver on this front. The Popit birth control pill reminder will help women make sure they never forget to take a pill again, according to the Daily Mail. And it could be available by as early as next year.
So how does this bit of brilliance work, you ask? Developed by Finnish startup Popit Medical Technologies, the device is designed to clip onto the end of a blister pack of birth control pills. According to the Daily Mail, the gadget uses a motion sensor to detect when a user picks up the pack. And a tiny microphone in the device can hear the “pop” that happens when someone removes a pill. Popit then sends a message to its companion smartphone app to keep track of the user’s daily pill schedule.
According to the Daily Mail's report, if the device doesn’t detect that a pill has been taken that day, it sends a message to the app alerting the user that they’ve forgotten. And good news for those of us who take the pill before breakfast and have totally forgotten by dinner (It happens. That’s all I’m saying): the Popit can even let the user know if they’ve taken too many pills in a 24-hour period.
In a statement posted on the Popit website, company CEO Teemu Piirainen said that the reminder has the potential to lower the chances of forgotten pills and 1 million unintended pregnancies that happen each year in the United States as a result, explaining:
Our research shows over 80% of women on the birth control pill have forgotten to take it at least once during the last year and over 40% rely on their memory alone. Many people don’t know it, but the typical birth control pill use with occasional forgetfulness raises the risk of unintended pregnancy from less than 1% all the way to 9%.
He added that forgetting to take oral contraceptives “causes anxiety and needless stress” that Popit is designed to help alleviate.
With a battery life of 12 months, Popit Sense requires minimal attention but still helps maintain maximal birth control efficiency. Its small size makes it discreet, and the built-in intelligence combined with proprietary technology ensures pills are never forgotten again.
A 2013 study showed that among the most-cited reasons that women choose oral contraceptives as a birth control method are its convenience and the fact that the pill is so easy to use. But that same study showed that most women who reject the pill do so because of the pressure of having to remember it every day.
Speaking to The Mirror, Piirainen added that the technology may be helpful to an even broader audience, including people who take daily medication for diabetes, hypertension, and other common illnesses. “This kind of technology hasn't been available before and it opens up exciting new possibilities,” he told the publication.
Still, pill users may have a bit of a wait before they can test out the technology for themselves. The company is currently accepting pre-orders for Popit on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, with each device going for $29 (and free shipping on orders in the United States and United Kingdom). As of this week they’ve collected almost $3,500 of their $20,000 goal, according to IndieGogo. That campaign is set to close by mid-December, and — if the company meets its fundraising goal — the first devices are expected to ship by May 2018.
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