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First telemedicine expedition to K2, created by Thuraya, WiCis and OCENS technology

30 June 2016

The first telemedicine expedition to K2 is underway, after successful trials in the Himalayas in March. The WiCis-Sports app, running on Thuraya SatSleeve+, will monitor every step of the #K2Adventure16 Madison Mountaineering trip, taking pioneering technology onto one of the world’s most challenging peaks.   

The expedition will demonstrate how telemedicine can provide instant access to medical expertise around the globe. OCENS is providing continuous pinpoint weather data and forecasts via their patented WeatherNet software through the WiCis-Sports app. 

The #K2Adventure16 project began on 12 June and is set to reach the summit in mid-August. Led by Garrett Madison, the team of ten is accompanied by porters from Pakistan and Sherpas from Nepal. One of the most remote places on Earth, with only 46 permits issued in 2016, K2 is the second highest and arguably the world’s most intimidating mountain. 

Select adventurers will wear lightweight, breathable, Bluetooth-enabled garments featuring embedded or integrated sensors, under normal climbing gear. The sensors continuously monitor heart rate, oxygen saturation, skin temperature, geo-location, altitude, speed and bearing.

Data will be streamed to the WiCis-Sports internet platform using Thuraya Sat-Sleeve+, and will be available within one to two seconds on any internet-enabled device on the planet. Dr Leo Montejo, CEO of WiCis, will keep track of the party’s progress from California.  

Remote monitoring will reduce costs for adventure climbers who do not have a doctor at base camp, and will allow more expeditions access to remote medical support in real time. WiCis-Sports is also combining and analyzing vital sign data to provide a snapshot of the climbers overall health status. Should a medical or other emergency arise, rescue teams will have immediate access to the data needed to assess the climbers’ condition and the exact location.


Bilal El Hamoui, Thuraya Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We share a desire to save and improve lives with WiCis, and we’re delighted to work together on something we feel will be standard expedition kit within five years. Thuraya-connected wearables will help adventurers push their boundaries farther and safer.”

Two successful trial expeditions were undertaken earlier this year in the Himalayas. Montejo, a team leader in the first of the two, tested the Thuraya SatSleeve+ and WiCis-Sports App. Three expedition members were forced to withdraw through illness; one acute mountain sickness case was so serious that a rescue helicopter was called for, using Thuraya SatSleeve+. 

Montejo said: “The time we spent testing the equipment meant we could make improvements to the system. Thuraya SatSleeve+ is reliable and blends nicely with the WiCis-Sports App. Now we’re ready for K2, our ultimate challenge. Basically, if it works there, it will work anywhere. If we can offer you support through technology, there is no reason to be totally alone.”