I saw a lot of different GPS tracking devices online, with varying degrees of flexibility and usefulness. The only thing that seemed to be lacking to me is a device that’s focused solely on retrieval of objects that can communicate immediately with the user, without the use of one of the devices that they’re trying to protect.
The Tattle Tale
Drug/Alcohol Sensing House Arrest Ankle Bracelet
This is basically an ankle monitoring bracelet that has transdermal sensors in it which can read levels of alcohol, methanphetamines, and marijuana. It contains a GPS tracking system that communicates through Sprint or Verizon wireless networks to an “internet user interface”. Its special features include transdermal sensors, active GPS tracking, body mass/body proximity sensors, real-time “geo-fence” surveillance, and a software package that comes with.
The Tattle Tale contains the things I’d need for one half of my bracelet trackers idea (still thinking up a catchy name). The GPS tracking and web service to view it would be in the “tags” that you could stick to your phone/laptop/camera/keys etc and they could use cellular networks to communicate with the bracelet. I thought it might be a good idea to have a “stolen mode” button somewhere on the bracelet that could lock down the missing device remotely. The other half of the idea would center around the bracelets, which I’m picturing being made out of some sort of silicone material that could vibrate and light up when they were a certain distance away from the tag they were associated with.
Garmin GTU 10
GARMIN GTU 10
A GPS locater that you can use to track “just about anything”. You activate it online and set up “geofences” for each sensor that alerts you by mobile or e-mail. It’s a palm-sized plastic device that can fit in a collar or a car, but it’s a little clunky and doesn’t seem to allow for tracking a lot of things at once very easily. Especially since each little guy goes for around $500.
I really like the idea of being able to set up “geofences” (this name was a little bit confusing to me but whatever). The basic idea is that you can designate areas where the tracker will alert you if it enters or leaves. The video gives the example of tracking your high schoolers (I would have been HORRIFIED); setting up a geofence around their high school will alert you when they arrive. I’m not sure if this is super useful for my device as it stands but being able to edit/define your “geofences” on the web service would be useful. The downfall of this in my mind is that it sends all the information about your missing devices to your phone or email. I know you can check email on any computer but I think it could be a better system to be able to get to some of that information instantly on a secondary device.
This is essentially the same device as the GTU 10 but a little smaller and sleeker. The convenient design allows the user to attach it to a much broader range of objects than the GTU 10 would work for, and the price tag of $38 makes it a lot more affordable. It too communicates with an online backup service (your e-mail account) or your mobile device. The really cool thing about the Fetch is that it has a button on it which can tell your phone (if it’s in range) to take a picture of its surroundings and upload it to the internet, so you might have a clue where it is. I thought that was a really smart and helpful solution for finding your phone when it’s lost! I also think though that the button on the device might be unnecessary, if there was a way to control your iPhone camera with the backup online service instead. Then, you could take a picture and view it in one step (maybe even see a live feed of what your phone sees). I know. This is some Minority Report shit right here.
Here are the storyboards depicting user flow in one possible situation:
Sorry about the LOTR nerdiness. I think I’m permanently sleep deprived.