AT&T adds cellular connectivity to Zephyr BioHarness

By Brian Dolan
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Zephyr BioHarnessAT&T has inked a deal with Zephyr Technology to embed cellular connectivity in the company's next generation Zephyr BioHarness, which measures critical vital signs including ECG, heart rate, breathing rate, and skin temperature. Notably, disaster relief crews used the current iteration of the BioHarness in the rescue of the trapped Chilean miners last year. The information gathered by the harness is aggregated along with the wearer's physical activity data, which is tracked via a built-in accelerometer. The data is then viewed through the Zephyr online portal or sent to electronic health records and mobile applications.

How did the Zephyr BioHarness wireless transmit before the AT&T cellular connectivity? Zephyr's website explains that "the BioHarness communicates to built in Bluetooth (e.g. Sepura TETRA) or to Zephyr’s proprietary Radio Interface devices, RID,using Zephyr’s secure Bluetooth." The embedded cellular will do away with the need for a hub device or companion smartphone.

“With the BioHarness, connected by AT&T, cardiologists will be equipped to remotely monitor ECGs, athletes will have the ability to share live performance data, and medics will have on-demand visibility into the condition of military personnel – all occurring seamlessly over the AT&T network,” Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resale and partnerships at AT&T, stated in the press release. “Today, smartphones capture Zephyr’s BioData and send it to the cloud for analysis, presentation and health record purposes. By embedding wireless into the BioHarness, we’re arming healthcare professionals with the technology needed to access timely data in ways not previously possible.”

“Zephyr has created a comprehensive approach that delivers useful physiological data in an understandable way,” said Brian Russell, Zephyr’s CEO.  “Our unique approach makes it easy for an individual to keep an eye on their health and to share that information with health providers, friends and family. AT&T has the right infrastructure and the necessary flexibility to meet the evolving requirements of connected health,” Russell said.

The FDA granted Zephyr clearance for its BioHarnesss back in December 2010. In 2009 Motorola Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Zephyr.