Home: Child: Safety
Disguised Cellular/GPS   (+5, -1)  [vote for, against]
Disguise a GPS transmitter for child safety

I have a young daughter and am shocked almost daily at the things that a few evil people in the world can do -- especially to children.

I have lately been thinking of incorporating (disguising) the GPS technology found in a standard cell phone into various non-cell phone items. These items could be disguised as a makeup compact, a lighter, an iPod, or any of many common looking items. The basic idea is that an abductor wouldn't know that the item was actually broadcasting a panic signal until it is too late (for the abductor).

I have seen the kid-friendly cell phones on the market but they likely wouldn't help during an abduction. When a child is kidnapped, a smart attacker confiscates a cell phone immediately. After that I assume that most abductor would scramble to hide the child and that during the crucial first hours of an abduction the device would be successfully broadcasting since the abductor would not have discovered the device.

There is a wrist-watch radio device out there on the market but its bulky and goofy looking and is probably more for younger kids (grade school). Teens wouldn't wear it.

So, my invention is an GPS-enabled, cellular child-safety tracking device with a panic button disguised as an ordinary object and is attractive to wear or easy to conceal.
-- MoreCowbell, Oct 25 2006

kidcontact http://www.kidconta...stemp.com/page1.htm
Terrible website, but the invention seems pretty close to what you describe. [jutta, Oct 25 2006]

EasyLocate http://www.easylocate.net/m_about.asp
You would have had to drill pretty far down into [jutta]'s link to find this page for EasyLocate. This system requires the user to wear a pin about the size of a button and carry a small concealed unit. A panic alarm can be activated by the user, or will activate automatically if the "button" and "unit" are separated by a few meters. [jurist, Oct 25 2006]

GPS phone http://www.itag.com
Track any gps phone with iTag.com [lparker3470, Aug 31 2009]

ResQFix EPIRB http://www.ja-gps.com.au/plb-resqfix.html
A very small EPIRB [reap, Aug 31 2009]

I like the idea of a GPS in a mobile phone (as MoreCowbell mentions is already available). It gives the kid the opportunity to alert parents of their location, but importantly also gives the parent an opportunity to talk to the kid ("are you OK?", "what's wrong?" etc). Without this communication, I think this device would be prone to false alarms.

Also, I think it's overly paranoid to worry about the kid not only being abducted, but by a being abducted by a criminal who is so fast that they will confiscate a mobile phone (but not other electronic devices) before the kid can press the alert button.

A mobile phone with inbuilt GPS is also preferable because the kid will be motivated to lug it around most places and keep the battery charged (most kids wouldn't leave home without their mobile phone these days).
-- xaviergisz, Oct 25 2006

Hmm, they now have coats that are wired for iPod use (for small children and older ones) what about one that is wired for GPS location? I don't know how abductors feel about taking kids' coats, but maybe this can be put in shoes or something.
-- PollyNo9, Oct 25 2006

I think that implanting such a device into a child's shoes, coat, or other item of clothing is ideal. As mentioned, the abductor could ditch the cell phone or the clunky looking wrist watch. But if the abuductor wants to go unnoticed by the general public he isnt going to make the child undress. Also, the GPS does not have to be "activated" in a time of distress. It could always be on. That way if for some reason the child is not where he is supposed to be, the system can alert you if that child goes anywhere other than certain locations or boundries that you intially set up.
-- Jscotty, Oct 25 2006

Um, last time I used a GPS I found that it wouldn't get location signals inside one of the two cars that we drove around in. GPSs operate off a set of very weak signals, and are really intended only for outdoor use.
-- baconbrain, Oct 25 2006

[baconbrain] I was thinking of standard cell phone technology that incorporates GPS. I realize that GPS cellphones read the same weak GPS signals but I would assume that the cellular technology would broadcast the last known GPS data. If that is true and the child were taken indoors it is likely the disguised cellular device would be able to broadcast the GPS data successfully.
-- MoreCowbell, Oct 27 2006

I understand there's widespread 'chipping' (implanting an identifying RFID chip into the ears) of dogs - couldn't we consider doing something similar to ourselves - only using something that transmits a stronger signal?

It's got to be only a matter of time before someone decides to extend this type of technology to personal implantation too. I know 'they' have been saying this for years, but perhaps the fear of child abduction will be the back-door by which this application of the technology becomes acceptable.

I can already imagine the parades of indignant mothers demanding their children are chipped as a matter of routine.
-- zen_tom, Oct 27 2006

[zen_tom] I believe this will eventually be done to prevent child swapping in hospitals but since passive RFID (no transmission -- only echoes) requires an RFID reader to be in close proximity (less than a few feet) it would be practically useless in an abduction case. An active RFID that uses a battery and broadcast its ID would have a 30 meter range or so at best.
-- MoreCowbell, Oct 27 2006

Rather than a GPS signal/transmission. It would probably be more practical to hide/disguise a small EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) like the [link].

The radio signal from an EPIRB does not need a clear view of the sky (like GPS) but is a very effective way of "calling for help" in an emergency.

There may, however, need to be something registered in the unit's serial number to identify the beacon as one requiring police rather than search-and-rescue.
-- reap, Aug 31 2009

random, halfbakery