Intelligent Pharmaceuticals Improve Medication Adherence

Skills Used
Engineering, Human Factors Engineering, Industrial Design, Prototyping, Research & Strategy

When patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, their health is likely to suffer. Occurring in nearly half of all patients on prescription medication, dosing errors can be the difference between a managed condition and a condition that results in a significant medical intervention. These interventions lead to $290 billion annually in increased medical costs.

To improve adherence, Proteus pioneered the revolutionary Raisin™ drug monitoring system. The system combines embedded digestible sensors in ordinary pharmaceuticals with a bandage-like patch on the skin. The patch gathers data for physicians to track when and how many pills are taken.

On the verge of their first clinical trial, Proteus was in need of a design services firm to produce the prototypes required for the study.

Design and development of the Raisin™ smart pill

Our Approach

Worrell needed to produce a prototype that could operate in the most extreme conditions—like a week soaking in a warm bath. The patch also needed to be comfortable since patients would be required to wear the device throughout the entire trial period. With these considerations in mind, Worrell’s industrial design, prototyping and engineer teams set off to create a device that would balance the demanding requirements for form and functionality. After several iterations, designers delivered a waterproof-sealed, triangle-shaped receptor that snapped onto an adhesive electrode for application on a patient’s skin.

Prototyping of the Raisin™
Prototyping of the Raisin™
Engineering and prototyping of the Raisin™

Key Activities

Ideation Workshops

Feasibility Research

Ethnographic Research

Patient Experience Modeling

Industrial Design Concepts

CAD Modeling

Functional Prototyping

Human Factors Formative Testing

Human Factors Summative Testing

Parametric A/B-side Surfacing

2D Drawing

Design Documentation

Supplier Recommendations

Transfer to Manufacturing


With Worrell’s help, the Raisin™ proved to be a major step forward in the management of chronic diseases like heart failure, infectious disease and psychiatric disorders. The system makes medication adherence easier for patients, physicians, family members and caregivers. It also supplies new and priceless data to pharmaceutical companies regarding how their drugs affect the body, potentially increasing the effectiveness of future therapies.

The Raisin™ effectively helps with medication adherence and helps reduce healthcare costs
Initial prototypes
Initial concept sketches


In April 2010, Proteus gained FDA approval for their Raisin™ Personal Monitor, which ultimately led to a $24 million exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement with Novartis, to commercialize the technology.

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