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Apparel to monitor patients with GPS under testing
May '10
Medicine has arrived to clothing. Nuubo is determined to improve the lives of patients in cardiac rehab, assuring them by 24-hour surveillance. The company manufactures shirts that detect the vital signs with the precision of medical equipment.

The idea also has its application in sports medicine and several football teams have shown interest in the product.

The business is based on the development of a shirt that is able to monitor, in a professional manner, the heart of the wearer. "The main goal is to get patients out of the hospital so that they can lead a normal life, at the same time reducing the number of beds occupied at hospitals," says Rodrigo Miranda, executive director.

The garment is simply a smart undershirt. What is not noticed is a band is a chest band with a credit card sized device that is about four millimeters wide, and the key to the new technology. This small device counts the heartbeats through its sensors, records a medical quality electrocardiogram, and detects the respiration rate, the body temperature and the position of the wearer of the shirt (standing, walking, lying, asleep or fallen).

The device comes complete with a phone carried by both the patient and the doctor who is treating him/her. The phone sends all data through a wireless connection to the hospital. When the patient is not connected to the network, the information is stored in the memory card and sent later.

The medical center's computers crosscheck the data and set off alarms if a value is outside the parameters. Although the device is not yet commercialized, Nuubo's product will launch following the summer in the hospital La Fe de Valencia.

Furthermore, before the end of 2009 will La Paz Hospital will also implement the Nuubo's technology, in addition to various division one football teams who've shown interest.

"The clubs could ensure the health of the players by monitoring them during training sessions and can therefore anticipate possible fatalities such as the one that happened to the Sevilla player Antonio Puerta." The player died suddenly on the field of a heart failure that was not detected, tells Miranda.

They have also produced 20 devices for Telefónica. Telefónica and Nuubo share an E-Health project that combines Telefónica's terminals with Nuubo's smart textiles. This innovative company has received funding from private entities that believe in its project: the venture capital fund Perennius, Caja de Ahorros de Navarra and the investment of six equity partners involved in the dreams of the promising startup.

The product is being improved. "We are focusing the improvements on three aspects," explains Miranda. "The first objective is to minimize the size and battery consumption. The second, optimize textile sensors and, finally, to reconcile our data with hospital systems. This is currently undergoing a review of the European Union standards. The price of the entire device is 400 euros, where similar devices that currently exist in hospitals are around 6,000 euros.”

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