The Internet of Things (IoT) Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) recently hosted an open house in which students could display their innovative designs. One entry, the Medcuff, designed to help people take the right medication and dosage at the correct time, was chosen by a panel of industry leaders as having the “Most Potential Impact.” The device, designed by undergraduate retailing major Dylan Mack, was designed to save money and potentially lives.

The Medcuff uses vibrations and color-coded LED lights as reminders for people to take their medications. It is an issue that costs the American healthcare system $100 billion to $289 billion annually (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and is the cause of 125,000 deaths each year. Originally, Mack was going to create a smartwatch—but a “cuff” suited his target demographic, the elderly, better since many of them do not have Internet access.

Also featured at the IoT open house was a project designed by undergraduate students Zach Vargas and Scott Carson, which won second place for “Most Innovative Technology.” Their device is an armband that uses biosensors to translate arm and hand motions into other actions, and is specifically being developed to wirelessly translate American Sign Language to text on devices such as smartphones. The next phase of their project will be to develop software, which will involve extensive data collection in order to build a dictionary of signs. Vargas and Carson plan to model the device off of speech recognition technology.

The IoT Lab allows for cross-disciplinary opportunities in which students can collaborate. Although the self-funded lab relies on financial contributions, its next goal is to bring industry projects and sponsorship to the lab. Like during the open house, students presenting in front of industry professionals could be very beneficial to the success of their projects.