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AT&T Pushes 'Connected' Clothing For Healthcare

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the and-what-would-at&t-know-about-staying-connected dept.

AT&T 63

gManZboy writes "Babies, athletes, first responders, the elderly — a growing list of people could benefit from connected clothing, says AT&T, which claims 'the stars have aligned' for this technology. Prices of clothing sensors have come down; Wi-Fi and wireless networks have become ubiquitous; and mobile apps have become easier to design and simpler to use. 'For example, parents of babies could cover them in connected clothing to check on their children when they were out of the house ... And relatives of elderly people who are "aging in place" in their homes could check on their vital signs and make sure their loved ones haven't fallen. This could help the elderly stay out of assisted living facilities, as most prefer to do.'"

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63 comments

Yeah, that'll work great... (1, Interesting)

the gnat (153162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953108)

...as long as someone other than AT&T implements it, so those of us who live in the Bay Area or New York City can actually use it.

On a more serious note, if wireless clothing becomes a tool for remotely monitoring medical status, doesn't this open carriers up to potential lawsuits when their network fails and someone dies of treatable maladies as a result?

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953188)

...as long as someone other than AT&T implements it, so those of us who live in the Bay Area or New York City can actually use it.

On a more serious note, if wireless clothing becomes a tool for remotely monitoring medical status, doesn't this open carriers up to potential lawsuits when their network fails and someone dies of treatable maladies as a result?

I would like to see AT&T and whomever do this right - run a decently powered study to see if such monitoring actually helps the patient instead of the company's bottom line. Given it is AT&T and the US healthcare system, I imagine that it will be done exactly backwards from this.

Yeah, the stars are aligning. The stars in the account's heads when then can get every baby and grandma on a monthly data plan.

Absolutely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953364)

The stars in the account's heads when then can get every baby and grandma on a monthly data plan.

Absolutely!

And considering the irrational obsession people have about children's safety and old people's paranoia about being sick and "fallen and can't get up", I say, WTF! Take their money. You can't reason with them, And as far as the hysterical parents, they deserve to have their money taken for a service of questionable efficacy and value. If they're going to force others to dumb down society to make sure that their little snowflake appears to be safer, I say fuck'em. Let'em pay out the ass and their flabby vagina for this service and boost ATT's stock price.

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (2)

kesuki (321456) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953386)

http://www.lifealert.com/lifealertmobile.aspx [lifealert.com]
why repeat this technology, and they also make baby monitors...
the idea of 'smart clothes' is dead on arrival
i know it's through a cell phone, but someone somewhere had to have thought of having wireless medical monitoring, people do not want microchips in their clothes how can you wash them?!? hot water is the bane of electronics and can penetrate most waterproofing, except full board immersion in polymers.

Are you implying your infant isn't on a data plan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959694)

What are you, Amish?

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953220)

I'm thinkin' that it will never be used for critical patients, but when you need to gather information about someone all day it'd be a lot more fun to wear a shirt or something than have to carry a machine or be tied to a network cable.

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953326)

but when you need to gather information about someone all day it'd be a lot more fun to wear a shirt or something than have to carry a machine

Yes, but now you can also gather information about people who weren't carrying a machine before.
Think access control and exact location data for patients and staff, where they went, how long, who they met,..

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953580)

This assumes the tech is reliable enough that it can be made to work in a comfortable (loose hanging) shirt, that it has a good power source that will last for a long time, and that it can go through a washer and dryer without breaking, and that it's cheap enough that I can buy a wardrobe full of clothes that all have this technology.

I would think a device that's worn like a wristwatch has a better chance of working.

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953854)

I would think a device that's worn like a wristwatch has a better chance of working.

Or a pendant on a neck strap, and maybe a retired Surgeon General [lifealert.org] to shill for it?

But these will never go mainstream.
The pendant or the watch can stay with you, and you only need one. If you build it into clothing, you need
dozens for every user, one for every garment. How can you make money selling ONE to a customer?

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953322)

doesn't this open carriers up to potential lawsuits when their network fails and someone dies of treatable maladies as a result?

Of course not. And if it does, they will just make the government write laws to exempt them from this.

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953336)

I scream you scream we all scream for an ice cream!

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953482)

There's already stuff like this http://jawbone.com/up/product/

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953608)

Not a big fan of privacy are you. At least with AT&T you can be sure that nobody's going to be able to get reception long enough to do any tracking.

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953866)

Or, if they have a data breach, or even just sniffing, does it open them up to HIPAA violations?

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953932)

Yeah, on their crappy-ass network I'll be dead a week before anyone finds out about it.

Re:Yeah, that'll work great... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954524)

doesn't this open carriers up to potential lawsuits when their network fails and someone dies of treatable maladies as a result?

Have there previously been successful lawsuits by people who tried to place a phonecall for help and the line was down or busy? How about suing Chrysler because a Jason and Freddy are chasing you and your car suddenly won't start? These things are manageable.

major privacy implications (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953118)

There are major privacy implications with at&t's endeavor. Also, what sort of paradox results when there are many people whos vital signs are directly impacted by EM radiation from the telcos equipment which is being used to relay the health information!

Re:major privacy implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953140)

Ha! "I bought grandpa a new wifi shirt and his pacemaker stopped working so he died!"

Re:major privacy implications (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953910)

when there are many people whos vital signs are directly impacted by EM radiation

The mind boggles!!!

I'm pretty sure they all live out side of AT&Ts coverage area.

Re:major privacy implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954542)

not this guy unfortunately.

Re:major privacy implications (2)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37957148)

I work in a nursing home and we had a resident that had a wireless ekg hooked up for to weeks that relaid the info to a cellphone she had to keep in her pocket and that relaid the info straight to the hospital where they were monitoring her. It was actually kinda cool.

That will be (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953152)

One 3G data plan per piece of clothing.

Yes... they ommitted something (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954136)

Let's fix this:

"Babies, athletes, first responders, the elderly — a growing list of people could benefit from connected clothing, says AT&T,

"Babies, athletes, first responders, the elderly — a growing list of people could benefit from connected clothing, says AT none more so than AT&T corporate executives and their obese bonus cheques, and their personal investment bankers.

Privacy, only if you not nekkid (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953154)

AT&T, which claims 'the stars have aligned' for this technology

That's ... some really weird lingo. Any stars in particular or just those well disposed to aspiring phone monopolists?

Yes, could be quite useful ..

"Little Joey is late getting home from school, could you check in on his clothing sensors, dear?"

"Right. Looks like he's getting a proper kicking by the neighborhood lads again. Probably shouldn't have gone with the clothes with that AT&T logo on 'em"

Re:Privacy, only if you not nekkid (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953734)

I see this as a system ripe for such abuses.

I mean, say someone hacks into your shorts and passes the IPv6 around to all the girls in your History class, who then conspire to stare at you whenever their iPhones signal them that you've sprouted wood...

Re:Privacy, only if you not nekkid (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954166)

YOU could be Anthony Weiner's press secretary. Honestly, it wasn't his fault, some script kiddy got into his pants.

Re:Privacy, only if you not nekkid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37956132)

of course there would have to be an app to log in to someones shorts and give them a substantial electric shock whenever they irritate me.

bandwidth? (5, Insightful)

prisma (1038806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953160)

I thought AT&T was complaining about saturated wireless phone bandwidth, to the point where purchasing T-Mobile was a supposed business neccessity. What would happen if tens of thousands of these "BioHarness" systems were connected through the network currently used by phones?

Re:bandwidth? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953334)

Then AT&T would be making a killing selling all that bandwidth - er wait sorry what was the question?

Re:bandwidth? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958942)

Most of the imagined usage scenarios seem like something which needs minuscule amounts of data - not much beyond "pinging" the network from time to time, to maintain connection. Probably in the daily range of how much one web page loading weights (yes, mostly in the other direction, but...)

If they really tried, it could perhaps even mostly piggyback on some routine control channels (kinda like SMS does, "free" to the carriers; and like WAP did). Bandwidth doesn't seem like the biggest obstacle here, seamless & sensible integration of affordable (no over-engineered) solutions might be the prime one.

Crying Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953198)

I've felt a great disturbance in the force...

As if millions of helicopter parents suddenly cried out...

"I'll take two!"

Framework for better health (3, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953228)

On the plus side, this also implements a framework for health sensors.

For example, the clothing could have an array of sensors which monitor various aspects of ones health - temperature, blood O2, and heart rate come to mind.

This could be linked to alerts, such as "having a heart attack". Having more information will allow us to better tune our detection criteria, will allow us to detect problems more quickly, and administer emergency care quicker.

Like any technology, can be used for good or bad.

Re:Framework for better health (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953312)

"the clothing could have an array of sensors which monitor various aspects of ones health"

The insurance companies would love that - think of the advancement of actuarial science! Real time rate adjustments!

Re:Framework for better health (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956570)

Sorry, but our sensor recordings tell you have neglected your sports program lately, so unfortunately we cannot pay for your heart attack treatment ...
... no, we don't care if a week of no sports has much impact. Our insurance conditions clearly say you have to make sports at least two days a week, right there in page seven of the small-print. And no, the fact that you had the flu that week doesn't matter either.

And who hits restart? (2)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953242)

This concept gives a whole new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death"... if your elderly parents are wearing a smart, web-enabled track suit that tells you their vital signs on your smart phone... who the heck wants to see their parents flatline in real time? And suppose the smart clothes crash or go offline? This seems to me to be akin to what we get from car alarms: I hear car alarms going off in parked cars all the time without ever checking to see if the car is actually being stolen. Its just security theater. Criminals aren't actually deterred by the sound of car alarms. I guess that seeing my father flatline several times because of hardware or network failure will prepare me for the inevitable end of his life. So, ATT can start marketing a line of clothing that is linked to your cell phone bill... sure, everyone would by a web enabled shirt for their elderly parents but in reality all those shirts are going to end up hanging unworn in closets all over America. It sounds like a great way for ATT to open up a whole new revenue stream without actually having to deliver very much at all in terms of service.

Great idea! (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953258)

"For example, parents of babies could cover them in connected clothing to check on their children when they were out of the house ..."

Don't worry, I'll get a text if he starts bleeding.

On Star? (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953280)

Could they connect that to an on-star like service? So if grandma gets lost or wanders off again, they could shut her down remotely.

Obligatory BTTF... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953348)

"Drying mode on.
Jacket drying.
(beeeeeeeeeeep)
Your jacket is now dry."

Let's Make It Mandatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953356)

Let's pass legislation mandating the purchase of connected electronic monitoring underwear by every man, woman, and child from a private corporation, just like we were recently going to do with health care. We've already got the monitoring infrastructure in place: TSA employees and border patrol agents, funded with excesses of billions of dollars already so we don't even need to do anything more with that, can carry handheld scanners and instantly check to see whether a citizen is wearing their electronic monitoring underwear. Any citizens without the mandatory underwear or who have been naughty and wet themselves will be instantly identified on the readout, and then they will be instructed to take off their shoes and stand still for genital groping.

What percentage of the above over-the-top, cynical, smarmy, tongue-in-cheek description of a dystopian social nightmare are we actually living in right now?

Big Brother wants this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953468)

And so do you!. we have always been at war with Eurasia!

Besides ... think of the children.

Can we use this to help pedophiles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953472)

Mental illness is the number 1 untreated disease in the USA. Perhaps we could implant some device in everyones brain to monitor their happiness level. If someone is not happy enough we could get them the appropriate mental health professional / medication involved. Also If someone were thinking aberrant thoughts we could get them arrested. No longer would men (e.g. pedophiles) be able to freely qawk at 17 year olds in skimpy outfits without the court/ police system being involved. Of coarse that means we would need to know and monitor the age of every girl in the country and their location at all times (for their safety of coarse).

Even better we could give everyone in the United States a device implanted in their heart that would ensure that it is functioning properly. This device would kind of like a hybrid AED / pacemaker that is networked into the public health and safety service centers across the country. If someones heart were to stop beating, we could remotely restart it. Kind of like On-Star (tm), only except for human beings. Also we could stop dangerous deviants (like dead beat fathers) from leaving the state. If they try to, or they stop making payments, we could the public health and safety center could just shut off their heart.

Babies? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953558)

WTF. I am the father of a 12 month old. Since coming home from the hospital, we've checked his temperature a grand total of 1 time. (And it was normal.)

For the vast majority of normal, healthy babies, why would you possibly want to be able to continuously monitor their vital signs?

If AT&T implements this (2)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953560)

We'll put on connected clothing that's just a bit behind the technology curve.

For the first few years, it'll cover only the parts of our bodies which have the most money.

We'll slowly get more material to cover the rest of our body, but only in exchange for tax breaks.

Instead of changing our entire outfit, we'll replace the clothes in sections, and then only when that piece has a catastrophic wardrobe malfunction.

And we'll keep the underwear on for more than 80 years.

ATT cant even provide me a quality phone service (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953610)

lets not get into internet and tv ... now they want to monitor my baby for me? WTF? are they going to try and charge me 80 bucks? when my baby dies and suggest I buy a new one?

Hey Grandma! (3, Interesting)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953642)

In case you were wondering why you haven't seen me in a while in your end stages, you shouldn't worry. Instead of stopping by, or calling... I just checked a quick app on my iphone and it said you were still alive.

Ahem...
There is a point where technology passively degrades your true human values. We've had it for decades, and it will only become more of a burden to be aware of. In all cases, don't forget what really matters --- ease and efficiency may be the ends by which important things, like face to face interaction with loved ones, are lost. Always remember what matters most.

Paranoid bunch here this evening (4, Insightful)

josquin9 (458669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953650)

First, nowhere in the article was there any talk of mandating this clothing for anybody, let alone everybody. And while, yes, it could represent a revenue stream for AT&T, that doesn't keep this from being a very welcome development for a very large number of people. If your choices are between being confined to a nursing home so that you can be visually monitored 24/7, or being able to live a reasonably normal life monitored remotely through your clothing, most people I know would pick the latter.

Eventually most people have to pick between the lesser of two evils in some context of their lives. This, to me, seems like it's setting the "lesser" bar considerably lower.

But I know that, when you're young and invincible, it's difficult to appreciate that, despite your best efforts, your body will eventually start wearing out. In fact, most people in the West spend a lot more time in decline than in the ascent, and you've got about a one in three chance of spending at least 3 months of your life disabled in some way before the age of 65, and the likelihood of a permanent long-term disability to vision, hearing dexterity or mobility, let alone disorders like diabetes and cancer, increase every year.

While the hope is that we can each put off needing this sort of technology as long as possible, I'd much rather it was well developed both technologically and sociologically/legally by the time I need it. We need to work on legal protections for privacy. Technology is going to keep removing the physical ones.

If you feel like being cynical, that's your right. It's a free country. But I find it's best not to put too many statements out there for Karma to work with.

Re:Paranoid bunch here this evening (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955174)

God you are so fucking full of shit.

Fuck you, people were dying of old age long before you ever come around you fucking wanker.

You say that its not mandatory now, well it will be in the future, you slimey piece of SHIT!

I'm fucking sick and tired of this shit, we make a compromise for one part of society, either the children or the elderly, and we fall back, our rights become eroded because now the additional purposes of that piece of technology is now so widespread that its in our coffee cups, our cars or or our condoms, even though the original purpose was to be for the disabled.

Lets face it, this technology doesn't need to be fucking anywhere in society, there are PLENTY of perfectly good tracking products on the market right now that isn't embedded into clothing just for the people who need it.

This is yet another page in the book of 1984, oppose it at any angle!

Cool. No more "Family". Just "Telerelatives". (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37953708)

Next week: how to conceive, gestate, and birth a baby in a wi-fi ready uterus from GigundoCorp.

NSA wiretapped underwear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37953960)

So now the NSA will know when when I have a bowel movement too? Crap!

selling useless trash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37954180)

AT&T will eventually start charging for the time the clothes are active, they will justify it by claiming it is the same as home security that requires a monthly fee to maintain......they don't care about people, they care about people's money and way to get it from them. I assume that the price of these "smart clothes" will be so astronomical that only people not suffering from the current economic times will be able to have them. And who cares if poor children are safe right, they have no part in this system but they sure as hell will pay for it.

Ok, I'll say it... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37954406)

I am one of those type of people that assumes that anything that can have a backdoor, does. That being said, the idea of having clothes that can be used to track my actual body functions is just about as intrusive as I could have possibly imagined, short of direct neural interfacing.

What other nifty purposes might these clothes be put to? Built-in lie detector interfaced w/law enforcement BlueTooth technology? Direct-connection Taser application w/specific nerve targeting? Remote passive-aggressive bio-feedback manipulation? Automated, instantaneous Facebook updates of bowel movements and BFF status?

I've come to the conclusion that one in every five slashdot submissions are actually a joke--the hard part is figuring out which one is the joke.

(commence with the "pants with a backdoor" jokes in 3...2...1)

Whole new meaning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37955894)

This gives a whole new meaning to hacking people to death.

CAPTCHA: unneeded

Yellow Pages for Higher studies (1)

globodyne47 (1988218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37956032)

World Yellow Pages for Higher studies.Find University, Institute, Colleges World wide & talk business.Free Listing www.kezkostudy.com

*Ring* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37960892)

"Hi Mom! I just noticed that your AT&T connected clothing tweeted that you had 64 grams of solid incontinence (tagged #incontinence) in the past 12 hours.

Now, you remember that we discussed that you would have to go live at Shady Pastures if you passed the 32 gram threshold. I used my AT&T smartphone app to put your home on the market while we were talking. (Verizon can't do that!) What? ...why are you crying?"

AT&T: solutions for a better tomorrow.
<fade to black>

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