Laura Bourdin, from the IUAV University of Venice, recently won an Adobe Design Achievement Award in the mobile design category for Heart Lift, a telemonitoring system for cardiac patients who want to safely stay physically active at high altitudes.

A valuable aid in the rehabilitation process, Heart Lift is able to reassure the user while engaging in physical activity and guide them to more constructively approach their activity levels, as well as alert emergency services in critical situations.

“The idea came about after conversations I had with cardiac patients at a hospital close to where I live, near Venice in northern Italy. The people I spoke to all told me that, following their recovery and treatment for their heart attack, or cardiac disease, they had had to quit many physical activities,” says Bourdin.

To Bourdin’s surprise, skiing was one of the activities most cited. “I found that not all heart patients needed to avoid this activity, but that they were just scared by environmental issues and the physical consequences,” says Bourdin.

This, and a passion for the human and social aspects of visual and interaction design, set her on a path to develop Heart Lift.

More than a device, it’s a system: a website, mobile application and a series of mobile tools that are able to detect environmental factors to monitor conditions of cardiac patients.

The system includes a kit with a Bluetooth electrocardiograph and specially designed gloves that have a built-in Bluetooth temperature sensor and an LED system in order to visualise potentially bad conditions.

A corresponding application for Smartphone users detects and analyses data coming from the input devices and transmits the information to the server of the website. In case of emergency, it also sends an alert to the other users.

Via the website, the user can pre-set the account and view the results of their skiing, including the altitude reached, the temperature and – most importantly – their heart rate.

The device communicates with the patient via a headset to explain the situation, as well as through the five LEDs set on the gloves.

Each LED represents a parameter monitored by the system: altitude, temperature, heart rate (above the maximum safe value), heart rate (below the minimum safe value) and critical events such as a heart attack.

The primary user is, of course, the heart patient, but the system also includes three other groups: the ‘followers’ (relatives, family or doctor of the patient), who can be informed instantly in case of danger; the Heart List assistance centre, who, staffed by professionals, can check data and monitor events; and the emergency service, which the system will alert in a hazard, with the patient’s name, the problem occurring and even their GPS position.

In an age of digitised information, Heart Lift is a break-through system in the medical industry that interacts directly with the patient in real time. 

For further information go to www.adaagallery.com

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