The ‘nomadic’ medical T-shirt

Wednesday, 05 November, 2003

Four laboratories and an equal number of manufacturers have pooled their skills to develop the first T-shirt that, 'barded' with physiological and medical measurement sensors and linked via the GSM network to a specialist centre, is a new operational telemonitoring tool; a new advance in the field of telemedicine.

This T-shirt is particularly aimed at older people; a way for them to regain a certain independence or to continue living at home with the security of permanent medical assistance; it is a major benefit for the hospital doctor to be able to treat a greater number of patients by having them 'hospitalised' at home.

In this project, for which the French Research Ministry provided 48% of the finance, TAM-Telesante, a company specialising in the design and operation of medical teleassistance methods through telematic links between patient and doctor, wanted to merge sensors with a textile framework, incorporating electronic components to link the T-shirt with the outside.

Heart rate, respiratory rhythm and cutaneous temperature are thus recorded and transmitted to the duty doctor in a specialist monitoring centre. The doctor can communicate with the patient by means of a microphone-loudspeaker also incorporated in the garment.

If necessary, thanks to the built-in GPS system, an ambulance can quickly be dispatched to wherever the patient happens to be.

Those set to benefit most from the radical T-shirt are, for example, patients with an unstable cardiovascular pathology following real or suspieciolus episodes; persons presenting symptoms of temporal-spatial disorientation, such as those suffering from Alzheimer's or more simply ageing subjects; and even high level sportsmen whose heart rate is being monitored; as well as high risk professions such as firemen or infantrymen.

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