Telemedicine Gets Mobile—And Fashionable

Oct. 27, 2003
Some medical conditions require constant attention, but mobility and independence are hard to give up. That's why a group of French laboratories and manufacturers have combined their talents to produce the V-TAM, a shirt laced with medical sensors...

Some medical conditions require constant attention, but mobility and independence are hard to give up. That's why a group of French laboratories and manufacturers have combined their talents to produce the V-TAM, a shirt laced with medical sensors that gives patients freedom and security at the same time.

This cotton T-shirt contains sensors that measure the patient's heart rate, respiratory rhythm, and cutaneous temperature. It can transmit this data to a doctor on duty in a specialized monitoring center via the GSM network. Doctors can communicate with patients through a built-in loudspeaker and microphone. If immediate attention is necessary, the shirt's GPS system can alert ambulance squads to the patient's location. And the garment still acts like a regular undershirt, absorbing perspiration, though it does require dry-cleaning.

The V-TAM could benefit patients suffering from unstable cardiovascular pathologies after real or suspicious episodes. People with symptoms of temporal-spatial disorientation resulting from Alzheimer's disease or other maladies would benefit as well. And, it could even be used to monitor the performance of competitive athletes and the well being of firefighters, police, soldiers, and other professionals in dangerous environments.

The French Research Ministry provided 48% of the funding. Four different companies and four different research labs contributed to the V-TAM's design. For details, go to www.tamtelesante.com.

See associated figure

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