The Amon is a Wearable Computer with Telecommunications Alert.
While most of us think of wearable technology a something that is just now coming along, some companies have already been working on designs and devices for several years. One such company, Art of Technology, designed a wearable medical monitoring computer in 2002, that while bulky and clunky compared to today’s standards, is really quite cool considering Android and iOS weren’t around until 2007 and 2008. While the computer never quite made it to long term production, it was one of the first of its kind.
What is the Amon?
In 2002, Art of Technology was commissioned to design a wearable medical sensor for patients with a high risk of cardiac problems. Their answer was the Amon bracelet, a self contained bracelet with sensors for monitoring the health of the wearer and automatically update the wearers condition via an internet uplink so that a doctor could check up on the wearers condition. In addition, the Amon contained technology to automatically dial a telephone service to call for help should the wearer suffer a cardiac related attack. The Toshiba battery had to be recharged once every 24 hours, but considering this technology was produced in 2002, it’s almost a miracle that it was wireless.
How Did It Work?
The Amon actually used ECG (electrocardiography) to measure the electronic condition of the wearers healthy. Because the heart puts off a specific ECG signature when performing regularly, the sensors were able to detect irregularities and report them. The bracelet also included a blood oxygen sensor, thermopile sensor for detecting skin temperature, and a blood pressure meter, all of which could be combined to determine the patients overall heart health. The Amon then transmitted all of that data via an 11 bit analog to digital converter that wirelessly uploaded to a computer, where it could be accessed via the greyscale LCD screen issued with the bracelet. The screen itself features four large buttons, and was almost similar to a desktop monitor. In case of an alert, the Amon used a communications subsystem to alert the number on call, or usually the local emergency system.
Why It’s Not Still Around
While the Amon was fully developed and applauded for its originality in 2002, it never really caught on, which is why it’s not still around. The device was at the time too bulky to be suitable for it’s intended patient demographic of the elderly or sick, as at the time the technology required to make everything work was quite bulky. In addition, it was also considerably too expensive for the majority of users to afford, making it an over-engineered and somewhat worthless device at the time.
Today, with smaller electronics, better computers, and more affordable technology, we have patches that actually do the same thing. In fact, the recently released Jawbone Up is similar enough that it could have been directly inspired by the Amon. Medical sensors are now everywhere, and help a lot of people, but the Amon was one of the first, and we think that makes it pretty cool.