Beeldhorloge Selects Sierra Wireless Module for Wearable mHealth Solution

Innovative Pictowatch assists caregivers in scheduling and reminders of everyday tasks for people with cognitive disorders.

Sierra Wireless today announced that Beeldhorloge, based in the Netherlands, has selected a Sierra Wireless AirPrime™ embedded module to provide wireless connectivity for the Pictowatch.

The Pictowatch is designed to assist individuals with cognitive disorders – such as dyschrony (a condition whereby the sufferer is unable to recognize what time of day it is), ADHD, dementia and Asperger’s Syndrome – in managing daily routines.

The wireless element connects the Pictowatch to a web server where an online schedule is hosted and managed by the wearers’ caregivers, enabling real-time alerts to users when it is time to perform a certain action – to eat lunch, for example, or go to work. Alerts take the form of beeps, vibrations, and a digital display of pre-selected icons or photos representing the designated activity. The core of the watch is based on the Sierra Wireless AirPrime SL6087 EDGE wireless module, which provides access to the GSM network and is also responsible for running the Pictowatch application and producing the pictogram on the watch display.

In developing the Pictowatch with an AirPrime module, Beeldhorloge was able to take advantage of the Sierra Wireless Open AT Application Framework, which enables customers to embed their application directly onto the wireless module. By using the processing power already built into the wireless module, no separate microcontroller is required. This is the real value-add of the Sierra Wireless module: it combines GSM and microcontroller functions, acting both as modem and as central processor, so that the entire firmware and software of the Pictowatch is actually run on the module. For Beeldhorloge, this means that the Pictowatch can be smaller, use less power, and have a noticeably lower bill of materials than it would if a separate processor had been required.

With the AirVantage M2M Cloud Platform, Sierra Wireless also provides remote device management services, which allows Beeldhorloge to update the firmware and software on the watch remotely. The download-over-the-air approach proved vital in the testing phase of the Pictowatch, as prototypes could be modified while in the field.

The ability to embed our application software directly onto the wireless module really helped keep the Pictowatch lightweight and small enough to wear comfortably, besides reducing the cost of the final product,” said Mr. Nanko Brattinga, CEO for Beeldhorloge.

Having access to an already well-integrated set of hardware and software technologies to manage the wireless connectivity, we were able to concentrate our development efforts on our core areas of expertise, such as the user interface, which is critical to the success of the device.

Airtime for the solution is supplied by KPN. “The growing market for connected devices represents a very exciting opportunity for KPN, and healthcare is a particularly rewarding industry to work with,” said Saskia Van Es, Managing Director for KPN M2M. “We are very pleased to have teamed up with Sierra Wireless and Beeldhorloge to enable the introduction of this great product.

Didier Dutronc, Senior Vice President, Embedded Solutions for Sierra Wireless said:

“The Pictowatch is a highly innovative solution for challenges faced by millions of people around the world every day”

We are proud to collaborate with Beeldhorloge in providing technology that can make such a positive difference in someone’s daily life.

Pictowatch was trialed by 250 individuals across the Netherlands and Belgium and received universally favorable feedback. It is currently available in the Netherlands, and is offered on a subsidized basis by one of the country’s largest health insurers. Beeldhorloge intends to offer it worldwide.

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