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AT&T Science Technology

AT&T Pushes 'Connected' Clothing For Healthcare 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-what-would-at&t-know-about-staying-connected dept.
gManZboy writes "Babies, athletes, first responders, the elderly — a growing list of people could benefit from connected clothing, says AT&T, which claims 'the stars have aligned' for this technology. Prices of clothing sensors have come down; Wi-Fi and wireless networks have become ubiquitous; and mobile apps have become easier to design and simpler to use. 'For example, parents of babies could cover them in connected clothing to check on their children when they were out of the house ... And relatives of elderly people who are "aging in place" in their homes could check on their vital signs and make sure their loved ones haven't fallen. This could help the elderly stay out of assisted living facilities, as most prefer to do.'"
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AT&T Pushes 'Connected' Clothing For Healthcare

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  • bandwidth? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prisma (1038806) on Friday November 04, 2011 @06:35PM (#37953160)
    I thought AT&T was complaining about saturated wireless phone bandwidth, to the point where purchasing T-Mobile was a supposed business neccessity. What would happen if tens of thousands of these "BioHarness" systems were connected through the network currently used by phones?
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday November 04, 2011 @06:38PM (#37953188) Homepage

    ...as long as someone other than AT&T implements it, so those of us who live in the Bay Area or New York City can actually use it.

    On a more serious note, if wireless clothing becomes a tool for remotely monitoring medical status, doesn't this open carriers up to potential lawsuits when their network fails and someone dies of treatable maladies as a result?

    I would like to see AT&T and whomever do this right - run a decently powered study to see if such monitoring actually helps the patient instead of the company's bottom line. Given it is AT&T and the US healthcare system, I imagine that it will be done exactly backwards from this.

    Yeah, the stars are aligning. The stars in the account's heads when then can get every baby and grandma on a monthly data plan.

  • by josquin9 (458669) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:58PM (#37953650)

    First, nowhere in the article was there any talk of mandating this clothing for anybody, let alone everybody. And while, yes, it could represent a revenue stream for AT&T, that doesn't keep this from being a very welcome development for a very large number of people. If your choices are between being confined to a nursing home so that you can be visually monitored 24/7, or being able to live a reasonably normal life monitored remotely through your clothing, most people I know would pick the latter.

    Eventually most people have to pick between the lesser of two evils in some context of their lives. This, to me, seems like it's setting the "lesser" bar considerably lower.

    But I know that, when you're young and invincible, it's difficult to appreciate that, despite your best efforts, your body will eventually start wearing out. In fact, most people in the West spend a lot more time in decline than in the ascent, and you've got about a one in three chance of spending at least 3 months of your life disabled in some way before the age of 65, and the likelihood of a permanent long-term disability to vision, hearing dexterity or mobility, let alone disorders like diabetes and cancer, increase every year.

    While the hope is that we can each put off needing this sort of technology as long as possible, I'd much rather it was well developed both technologically and sociologically/legally by the time I need it. We need to work on legal protections for privacy. Technology is going to keep removing the physical ones.

    If you feel like being cynical, that's your right. It's a free country. But I find it's best not to put too many statements out there for Karma to work with.

  • by icebike (68054) on Friday November 04, 2011 @08:17PM (#37953854)

    I would think a device that's worn like a wristwatch has a better chance of working.

    Or a pendant on a neck strap, and maybe a retired Surgeon General [lifealert.org] to shill for it?

    But these will never go mainstream.
    The pendant or the watch can stay with you, and you only need one. If you build it into clothing, you need
    dozens for every user, one for every garment. How can you make money selling ONE to a customer?

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