Literally, 'remote measurement.' Term used to describe performance data being returned from spacecraft such as Voyager, Pioneer and the Space Shuttle, or even from Indy 500 racing cars, etc. Although typically sent via a radio link, telemetry is independent of the means used to transmit it; it is a flow of information, not of signal. Telemetry can and has been transmitted by such diverse means as radio, sonar, cabling, or even fluid or gas line pressure.

Among biomedical researchers, telemetry (also called radiotelemetry) almost always refers to monitoring physiologic signals from animal subjects. Telemetry is considered to be the gold standard of physiological data collection because it provides data free of the artifacts common to other data collection methods, such as infection or handling stress. In vivo safety pharmacology studies are strongly recommended to use telemetry to produce data.

Animals are instrumented with transmitters that monitor the signals of interest. A partial list:

  • Arterial blood pressure
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • electromyogram (EMG)
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Left ventricular pressure
  • Pleural pressure
  • Temperature

    The digitized signals are sent from the transmitter to a receiver via radio frequencies. After collection the data is processed. Most telemetric acquisition systems store the data in computers for further processing and manipulation, although analog outputs for equipment such as stripchart recorders are also used.

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