iLoc GPS Wristwatch Helps Caregivers Track Disabled Patients

iLoc Technologies' GPS Personal Locator Device uses machine-to-machine technology to enable caregivers to track people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

iLoc Technologies has unveiled the TriLoc Personal Locator Device, a wristwatch worn by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dementia and Alzheimer's disease to help caregivers keep track of them.

The watch incorporates a Gemalto Cinterion PHS8 wireless module that offers machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity along with GPS (Global Positioning System) data. M2M allows remote-monitoring devices used in health care applications to communicate through wireless connections.

ASD is a disorder that may include symptoms such as communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors and cognitive delays.

Based in Montreal, iLoc Technologies makes GPS tracking devices while Gemalto is a digital security firm.

By incorporating the miniaturized Cinterion PHS8 module, the TriLoc device becomes a ruggedized communication device, according to Gemalto. The watch sends alerts to a caregiver by text message, email or through a mobile app that runs on iOS and Android. Caregivers can program the TriLoc through a secure Website.

The Cinterion module supports Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) to provide high-speed data and voice communication. Advanced power management technology extends the watch's battery life.

Cinterion enables hands-free calling. Caregivers can call the TriLoc watch to check on the status of a person with special needs.

In addition, the module offers encryption to protect patient data. A lockable strap on the watch also prevents patients from detaching the TriLoc.

Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity allows the TriLoc watch to connect home medical monitoring devices as well as iOS and Android smartphones. Remote-monitoring devices track vital signs for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and hypertension.

The Gemalto module transmits a patient's location to a caregiver's PC or mobile phone. Caregivers can also use a remote listening feature to determine if help is necessary. A built-in SOS button on the watch allows people to call for assistance.

Other features include alerts for scheduled activities, fall detection and overspeed while driving.

In addition, caregivers can wear an optional electronic tethering device that connects wirelessly to the TriLoc. An alarm on the tethering device sounds when the individual wearing the watch is out of range.

Geo-fencing features are designed to help family members or caregivers detect when individuals with special needs wander off from public sites such as a museums, shopping centers or theme parks.

Still, the TriLoc helps support the independence of an individual with special needs.

"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, said 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."

Tony Fama, iLoc's president and CEO, decided to develop the watch after his son was diagnosed with ASD.

"We created TriLoc GPS Personal Locator after two years of research and many discussions with care giving associations and parents of children with ASD," Fama said in a statement. "TriLoc gives my son greater autonomy and reduces the need of constant supervision."

In addition to ASD, dementia and Alzheimer's patients, the unit can play a role in telehealth sessions as caregivers access vital data transmitted through the device.

Another company, SecuraTrac, recently introduced a mobile app called SecuraFone Health that also monitors patients using GPS. It connects to a biosensor patch from Vital Connect to monitor patients' heart rate and respiratory data as well as their whereabouts.