Sano —

What innovative (digital) packaging options can help me to take the medication according to plan?

Ideation, Research, Concept, Design, Presentation

April – July 2016

University project
(4th semester)

Internet of Things, Connected Devices, Future of Healthcare, Arduino

Merck AG


Our challenge

In the 4th semester of our studies, which was all about the Internet of Things, we got a challenge from Merck AG: 

What innovative (digital) packaging options can help me to take the medication according to plan?

The project was all about actively supporting the patients to take their medication in the right way. Because from the first visit at the doctor, until the actual intake of the medication, there are a lot of factors, why just a small fraction of the patients still take their medication correctly.

After the diagnosis and getting a medical prescription, just 70% of the patients go to a pharmacy and pick up their meds. Just 65% of the people then get the meds at the pharmacy. And when coming home just 30% actually take the medication. From these 30% half of the people – 15% – take their medication in the right way. The rest is making mistakes with the intake of the medication or does not take the medication until the end.

If all the patients would take their medication right, the hospitals and foster homes in the United States could save 260 billion dollars annually. In Europe the potential for savings would be 125 billion euros annually.


Our solution

To come up with a solution for this problem, we went through the different phases of Design Thinking.

Our process from a high level looked like this - we did:

  • Research, on why patients do not take their medication correctly
  • Research about the future of healthcare, which is a lot about personalization of the therapy experience
  • Research about the Smart Pill and Biomarkers 
  • Competitors research about similar products and solutions
  • Ideation for our product, where we asked the question, how we could eliminate the packaging completely
  • We skyped with "Method Design Lab" to learn about visual and auditive design language of objects
  • We researched the target group for the product and developed a user persona
  • Developed the character of the product, the look and feel and the technical functions
  • Developed a business model, brand identity, business canvas, brand identity prism and a marketing strategy


Based on this process, we came up with the product Sano. Sano is a wearable, which at first sight does not look like a medical packaging. It is discrete and is supposed to help the patient live his or her life like everybody else. For the patient the product is convenient, practical and easy to use in their everyday lifes.

Further Links

If you got curious, you can explore the project on our university page. And if you're interested in knowing more about the solution and how it works, feel free to send me an email and I'll send you the whole documentation of the project. Please note that the documentation is only available in German.