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This paper describes an advanced care and alert portable telemedical monitor (AMON), a wearable medical monitoring and alert system targeting high-risk cardiac/respiratory patients. The system includes continuous collection and evaluation of multiple vital signs, intelligent multiparameter medical emergency detection, and a cellular connection to a medical center. By integrating the whole system in an unobtrusive, wrist-worn enclosure and applying aggressive low-power design techniques, continuous long-term monitoring can be performed without interfering with the patients' everyday activities and without restricting their mobility. In the first two and a half years of this EU IST sponsored project, the AMON consortium has designed, implemented, and tested the described wrist-worn device, a communication link, and a comprehensive medical center software package. The performance of the system has been validated by a medical study with a set of 33 subjects. The paper describes the main concepts behind the AMON system and presents details of the individual subsystems and solutions as well as the results of the medical validation.