Text-Messaging the Emergency Room

Mobile phones just keep getting more and more powerful, adding on new functions and graphics and capabilities by the week. Now they could join in the battle against heart attacks. A prototype heart monitor that works in concert with a phone, connecting via Bluetooth, could alert patients and doctors about abnormal cardiac activity through a text message. The external device sends signals to the phone, which includes a program that checks for irregular beats. When something odd registers, both patient and doctor are notified, which allows them to act earlier, and possibly prevent a fatal heart attack.

Developed by scientists at Sri Sai Ram Engineering College and Sathyabama University in India, the prototype has not yet begun clinical trials, but its developers are also thinking about adding a GPS function that would allow monitors to pinpoint the patient's location.—Gregory Mone