Snuggle up with 3G wireless

By Mike Miliard
10:08 AM
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 DALLAS – It's no longer enough for an infant's pajamas to simply keep the little bundle of joy warm and dry at night. Nowadays, PJs should be able to constantly monitor the baby's vital signs and emotional state, and then relay that information wirelessly to the doting parent's iPad or smartphone.

A new product in development by AT&T and McLean, Va.-based Exmovere announced an agreement to wirelessly enable Exmovere’s patented biosensor baby pajamas, Exmobaby, is designed to take baby monitors to a whole new level.

Such "walkie-talkie" style monitors could soon be obsolete when compared to a machine-washable garment (meant for infants up to a year old) that employs embedded ECG, thermometers and movement sensors to keep tabs on babies' behavior – and even their emotions.

As Exmovere's technology gauges vital signs such as heart rate, skin temperature, moisture and movement, that data can then be transmitted to parents' computers, via AT&T's 3G network, alerting them when their baby needs care.

“Exmobaby creates a comprehensive biophysical approach to baby monitoring that delivers useful physiological and movement data in an understandable way,” said Exmovere CEO David Bychkov.“Our cutting edge approach makes it easy for an individual to keep an eye on their baby without actually being there."

With the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) a big concern for parents, AT&T officials say this prototype, relaying real-time data about infants' motions – and emotions – should help allay those fears.

“Providing parents and caregivers access to real-time baby monitoring and special alerts through a wirelessly connected device should help deliver unprecedented peace of mind,” said Glenn Lurie, president, emerging devices, AT&T.

The Exmobaby system comprises the garment itself, woven through with biosensors, powered by a single AAA-battery and Zigbee transmitter pod, which snaps right onto the pajamas. Add a USB Zigbee receiver dongle, some software and a user website, and you can set up remote alerts by SMS, AIM and email, according to Exmovere officials

The company intends to submit pre-market notice to the FDA before releasing Exmobaby to consumers. But Craig Kaiser, director of business development for emerging devices at AT&T Mobility, notes that the garment is not designed for diagnosis or treatment.

It is "not designed as a medical device, and not classified as one either," he said. "It's not going to diagnose or tell you what's wrong with the baby." Kaiser also notes that the "product itself has still got a way to go" on both the technical and regulatory front, and thus won't be available to consumers for "months."

Still, he said, soon enough, "we want it to be mainstream, we want it to have mass appeal, and we're going to do our best to help the partner design it in that fashion. … Obviously we would hope there would be some consumer facing brands that would have some interest in a product like this."

In the meantime, Kaiser thinks we're on the cusp of something truly transformative on the mobile health front.

"There’s a lot of good that can be done, and a lot that wireless can help enable in healthcare – from remote patient monitoring to fitness and well-being," he said. "There are lots of areas where adding wireless technology to a device can enhance these products, giving people real-time access to data, either on caregiver and doctor level, or for people who just want to have that data stored somewhere where they can trend themselves over time. There's a lot that can be done."

Sensing that we're "on the cusp of something here," he said, AT&T has "been talking to everybody and anybody who has interesting ideas that we think will do well in the marketplace."

Exmobaby was one product that was "certainly different than anything we've heard about," said Kaiser.

"Certainly, the standard baby monitors today are very limited in their functionality. This particular product – given the fact that it can now do all these different measurements, beyond just listening to, or even seeing, your baby – really wowed us."