by Stephen Rountree

If this wearable defibrillator’s sensing electrode loses the heartbeat, it signals a waist-mounted monitor to send a jolt of electricity to restart the heart.

Of the 250,000 Americans who die of cardiac arrest each year, 70 percent of them do so at home, where there’s no access to a lifesaving defibrillator.

Enter the WCD 2000, the world’s first wearable defibrillator. Electrodes in the chest-belt monitor the heart; if they lose the heartbeat, they signal the waist-mounted defibrillator to send a shock. Meanwhile, tiny capsules release an electricity-conducting gel onto the chest.

The first patients will likely be those who are temporarily at high risk for heart attacks, or people who don’t qualify for an implantable defibrillator.