Bracelet with GSM and GPS alerts when Alzheimer patients wander
Paris, France. Medical Mobile and Orange have developed the Columba
telephone bracelet which integrates mobile phone and geographic location
technology in a watch-sized device that a patient can wear on the wrist. An
alarm is signalled when a patient leaves a safe area.
The fruit of three
years of research, this revolutionary technology is based on intelligent
detection and alarm software, a GPS assisted geolocalisation system, and a
GSM/GPRS transmitter-receiver that integrates a SIM card. Telephone
communication and data transfer are realised via the Orange mobile network
and the services of AXA Assistance.
The Columba telephone bracelet, which
integrates an alarm button, is attached to the wrist like a simple
waterproof watch, thus providing the patient with a secure and safe
environment without limiting their freedom of movement, in conformity with
the procedures set by France's Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des
Libertés (National Commission on Information Technology and Freedom).
an Alzheimer's patient wearing a Columba bracelet leaves the geographic area
with which they are familiar and in which they have points of reference, the
device automatically triggers an alarm that notifies the patient's family or
caregiver of the problem.
A medical call centre (available to families and
caregivers 24/7) immediately ascertains the patient's exact location by
satellite. The bracelet's loudspeaker and hands-free functions also enable
direct communication with the patient and the medical call centre.
Increased life expectancy has made Alzheimer's a major public health
challenge. There are 850,000 Alzheimer patients in France and 165,000 new
cases are diagnosed every year. By 2008, every French family will be
affected directly or indirectly by Alzheimer's, one of whose major symptoms
is loss of spatial and temporal orientation. About 60 per cent of all
Alzheimer patients either wander off or live in a disoriented state.
Having been piloted from October 2005 to February 2006 in household and
retirement home settings, the Columba is now being marketed via a network
consisting of 22,400 pharmacies and 700 France Telecom branch offices.