“It’s every parent’s nightmare,” sounds like a clichÃ?Â©, but too often it is something that becomes true. Thousands of children go missing in the United States every year. Some are recovered safe and alive, thanks to goof police work and the help of the community. Others, though, are found dead at the hands of some depraved killer. Still others are never found, their faces forever young on the front of some poster with the caption, “Have You Seen Me?”
A company in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is developing a device that could make one’s children considerably safer in the dangerous modern world in which we live. The company and the device are called Kinderguard.
The device uses both GPS and biometric technology to allow a parent to ascertain the location and well being of their child at all times. The device in incorporated in a small wrist band, with a microchip, with its own power source, that can calibrate a GPS signal. The signal would then be accessed by any Internet connected device, such as a computer or a blackberry, and overlaid on a map to allow a parent to locate his or her child anywhere in the world.
A parent can predefine an allowed spatial location for the child, such as a school, day care facility, or friend’s house and the device will alert the parent the moment the child strays from the location. The device will also have the ability to document and report prior locations of the child over a fixed period of time.
The biometric system will allow the parent to monitor his or her child’s medical condition, including skin temperature, heart rate, stress level, and so on. The parent would receive an alert if the biometric data makes a sudden change. This feature will allow the parent to ascertain that the child continues to wear the device. The parent would be alerted if the device is removed or transferred to someone else.
The device will also contain the means for the child to alert his or her parent, including a panic button feature.
Kinderguard is developing the device to allow it to be embedded in jewelry or in pocket devices. Eventually the Kinderguard device can be worn as clothing as part of “Security You Wear.” The more unobtrusive a Kinderguard device is, the less likely a kidnapper would be able to remove it.
Besides child protection, there are other applications for Kinderguard. It can be used to monitor the location and well being of elderly people. It can be used for people whose occupation places them in danger, such as police officers or even soldiers. It can be used to monitor prisoners who are out on probation.
The Kinderguard device, which can be bought at a fixed price and serviced for a small, monthly fee, is supposed to be available in the United States and then Europe in the near future.