When I first heard about a product called a “location device” that helps you find people or things, I thought of my friend Sally who is constantly losing stuff – like her cell phone, her three-year-old and her elderly, diabetic cat. (Once, she even lost her grandpa, who lives with her and suffers from dementia!) Sally is a typical suburban soccer mom with four kids who is always on the go, and her life is pretty hectic. But after that time grandpa went missing for four hours, I knew Sally needed help managing her life and this location device sounded perfect.
What is a “Location Device?”
A location device is handheld guide that helps you locate possessions, pets and people. Location devices come with small, battery-powered homing tags that you can attach to whatever you don’t want to lose – such as a pet, a child or a set of keys – and a handset that alerts and directs you to whatever you are looking for. Some location devices are designed specifically for finding lost pets and others are used for locating lost children. And there are other systems, such as the Loc8tor Plus, that are more versatile and come with multiple tags that you can use on just about anything or anyone.
How Does a Location Device Work?
The homing tags and the handheld guide transmit and receive radio signals. The tags are small and designed to attach to something like a pet collar or slip into a child’s pocket. In the “locate” mode, the handheld guide monitors the signal and guides you to the missing item or person through a series of audio beeps and visual prompts that you view on the screen. You just follow the direction of the strongest signal and the location device will bring you to the lost item or person.
More sophisticated location devices like the Loc8tor Plus also have a very useful “alert” mode that you can set to tell you if your child or pet (or grandpa) is wandering too far away. By monitoring the strength of the signal sent out by the tag, the Loc8tor Plus will alert you with an alarm that your child or pet is getting out of range so you can begin searching for them immediately. It also has special “panic button” tags that a child can wear with a special splash proof wristband to use to call for help if they get lost or have an emergency.
What is the Range?
The range on these devices is really impressive – the Loc8tor Plus, for example, has an outdoor line-of-sight range of up to 600 feet or 183 meters, which is equal to two football fields in length. (Inside or where there are obstacles, the range will be reduced.) And, it is so accurate it will bring you to within 1 inch of what you are looking for!
A Good Investment
Last month, after Sally spent 15 minutes trudging through the shopping mall parking lot searching for her parked car, she finally agreed that a location device was a good investment for her. She chose the Loc8tor Plus system that can track up to 24 tags and she attached tags to everyone and everything in her household that might go missing – the baby, the TV remote controls, backpacks, cell phones, the cat, the car and even her grandfather.
Now, if she can only keep track of the handset…