Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 13, 2013

Wristwatch Positioning Device Helps Caregivers/People with Autism, Alzheimer's and Dementia

Autism, Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions affect large numbers of people all over the world. Among the many methods used to lessen the impact of these illnesses is a new wristwatch positioning device – featuring Gemalto’s Cinterion Machine-to-Machine technology.

The TRiLOC GPS Personal Locator Device (PLD) is well-suited for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It provides around-the-clock cellular communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, which lets caregivers/relatives locate and safeguard those with a condition.

It also means less time is needed to provide direct supervision of these individuals.

And the need is great. Tens of millions of individuals have autism or Alzheimer’s disease, influencing more than 60 million caregivers in turn.

The number of people with autism has grown since the 1980s. Many of its symptoms can be addressed by various techniques, but most with the disorder may have lifelong symptoms. Some reports also suggest early intensive behavioral intervention has delivered significant benefits for autistic children, HealthTechZone said.

The device makes it much easier for them and their caregivers.

In the case of dementia, there were 35.6 million cases as of 2010. The cases are now believed to be the same in moderate-income countries and more affluent Western countries, based on data from U.K.-based Kings College.

Developed by Montreal-based iLOC Technologies, the Gemalto technology transmits the wearer’s location to a caregiver’s cell phone or computer. There is also two-way calling between the parties. A remote listening device and emergency button provide an immediate attention feature, and status updates can be sent to caregivers as well.

One option is a detection device which sends immediate text messages and audio alarms if an individual strays too far.

“We created TRiLOC GPS Personal Locator after two years of research and many discussions with care-giving associations and parents of children with ASD,” said Tony Fama, iLOC’s president and CEO, who has a son with ASD. “TRiLOC gives my son greater autonomy and reduces the need of constant supervision. With the tethering accessory, families or caregivers can plan trips to museums, shopping centers, and even busy theme parks without the enormous stress of the individual wandering off.”

“It is really rewarding to see our technology truly changing the lives of people with special needs, in this case those who are prone to getting lost,” Norbert Muhrer, senior vice president of Gemalto M2M, added in a statement. “As a result of our miniaturization efforts we have produced our slimmest module to date, the Cinterion PHS8, which is small and powerful enough to drive this innovative wristwatch. With this solution, Gemalto is again helping to improve the security and convenience of citizens by leveraging the full potential of the wireless and digital worlds around us.”

Edited by Braden Becker

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