HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog

Wearable Devices Help Parents ‘Guard’ Children

View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Much better than a leash
Elizabeth M   9/19/2013 5:54:18 AM
NO RATINGS
I just suggested this device to friends of mine with children. It reminds me of leashes for kids that caught on for a while but seemed a bit bizarre and a little too much like dog leases. This is much more streamlined, intelligent and digital age, not to mention it seems far more effective and visibly attractive. I wonder if it will really catch on once it's available.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
tekochip   9/19/2013 11:13:35 AM
I only lost one child, which I did eventually got back, but there is no greater terror I can think of.  I had turned around and the boy had bolted off to the shoe aisle during Christmas rush.  I was in an absolute panic as I watched the sea of people surging around the mall door.

It's a great product with a good pricetag and has the geeky factor that will make it trendy.  I'll bet they sell a bunch of them.

 

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
Amclaussen   9/20/2013 11:11:00 AM
NO RATINGS
Tekochip; I can just start to imagine your panic and suffering on those moments...

I have a son, three and a half years old.  The mere thinking about him becoming lost is enough to make feel very sick instantly, as there are too many little children lost or taken from their parents every day, in many countries.

I Thank Elizabeth for writing about this device. I really hope it becomes available and works as projected. It is a real need. As you said, it should sell as it is trendy and geeky, kids will love it too.

Maybe my nightmare about a lost child comes from my own distant infancy: my mother took me to a large and crowded bakery, and momentarily released my hand as she was ready to pay the cashier (she had one hand occupied holding the bag full of bread pieces, and used the other to open her purse, that she had been carrying under her arm). Being less than 4 years old, I simply walked away some steps.  A stranger (woman) placed on the bakery exit took my hand and quickly started walking away with me.

Fortunately, my father's chauffeur happened to be strategically parked in front of the bakery entrance and perfectly standing at the side of the car, and swiftly stopped the woman from stealing me from my family, possibly forever.

Having read about and heard some similar stories (that ended tragically when the families never saw again or knew anything about their lost child), I'm of the idea that child abduction must be punished as severely as possible (I would approve life sentence, together with say, the ten first years in solitary confinement, no less).

In Mexico, there is a coined term for describing persons that perform child abduction, usually with the intention of selling them.  They are called "Robachicos", and have existed for many many years.  Lately, organized crime has made it a large business, they work in teams, where there is a nice one performing as an innocent and "helping citizen" that "happened to briefly having seen the kidnapper fleeing with the kid," and that offer themselves to "help" looking around to locate the missing child. Their job is to distract away the attention of the parent, while collecting information from the desperate parent, to be used later to contact the parents and demand a ransom.

Amclaussen.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Elizabeth M   9/23/2013 5:07:14 AM
NO RATINGS
I don't have kids, tekochip, but I can imagine how you and all parents feel in this situation. I hae panicked when I've briefly lost track of kids I was looking after for friends or my nephews and niece, and I am sure it's much worse for parents. I think this is a very practical application of technology that we use already and should be very effective.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Charles Murray   9/23/2013 6:12:39 PM
NO RATINGS
I had a similar experience at Brookfield Zoo, tekochip. Lost a child for about 30 minutes. Thirty minutes doesn't sound like a long time, but it's an eternity in that situation.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
tekochip   9/23/2013 10:56:45 PM
NO RATINGS
30 minutes at Brookfield Zoo!  I would have been insane, my boy was lost about 20 seconds.

 

On topic, and another Chicago story.  I got lost at Adventure Land when I was a kid.  The place was closing and they had these terrifying guard dogs tugging at the leash, barking, and drooling like they hadn't had a child to eat in almost six hours.  They kept annocing over the PA that the gates were closing and that they were going to unleash the dogs.  I was crying so hard when I found the front gate that I almsot didn't see the snarling dogs bounding against the fence.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Charles Murray   9/24/2013 6:28:29 PM
NO RATINGS
The more I think about it, tekochip, the more important I think this technology is. I recall getting separated from my family at a carnival as a nine-year-old. I walked the two miles back to my house. I think situations like those are more terrifying for the parents than for the kids who get lost.

BeLuvv
User Rank
Iron
Re: Much better than a leash
BeLuvv   9/24/2013 11:00:22 PM
NO RATINGS
Nancy-You are a really good mother!!! BeLuvv team knows your worry about those kids who always loss wearable safety devices, and in this case, guardian can be worn from head to toe in various forms such as necklace, bracelet, badge or others you want. Besides, based on kids view, guardian featured by bright color, hardly any weight, and natural material to avoid any irritation from wearing. Also, BeLuvv team creates two protection layers: preventing from missing+co-guarding searching to build the strongest safety fence for kids. We aims to satisfy all parents and childrens' need of safety. 


For the terrible and helpless missing experience of Charles Murray and tekochip, BeLuvv team is considering about the child feedback button for guardian 2nd generation, which allows lost children to send SOS signal to their carer.   

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
TJ McDermott   9/19/2013 4:42:39 PM
Tongue-in-cheek Elizabeth, the next logical step would be to train the child not to wander too far from the parent-guardian.  I'm talking about adding "invisible fence" technology to the bracelet, so that an educational shock is delivered to let the youngster know he or she has gone far enough.

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
GTOlover   9/20/2013 9:08:03 AM
"Educational shock" love the term. However, the intelligence of teens have reduced the shock treatment into a dare!

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Elizabeth M   9/23/2013 5:36:04 AM
NO RATINGS
Ha, an educational shock! Now that's an idea, like we do with dogs. Well I suppose the same people who put leashes on children would be up for this. ;) All kidding aside, though, there could be some type of alert to let a child know he or she has wandered off...shock treatment might be a little drastic, though! ;)

BeLuvv
User Rank
Iron
Re: Much better than a leash
BeLuvv   9/23/2013 6:13:38 AM
NO RATINGS
Beluvv team do like the idea of TJ Mcdermott, the initial design spirit of Guardian is preventing kids from missing but the following step like training children not to wander too far maybe taken into consideration in the future. 

In addition, although the idea combining children safety and electrinic device is not a whole new concept,  we mainly focus on its distinct features such as comfortable material, fashionable design and easy to use. As the comment of Elizabeth,  the existing technology in this domain seems either harmful for children or inconvenient for parents, that is the reason Guardian comes out. 

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Elizabeth M   9/24/2013 2:50:43 AM
Thank you for your comment, BeLuvv. It's good to have the perspective of the company in terms of designing the device. Comfort is a big factor, I can imagine, and an important one with picky children. This gives people a good option for their child's safety.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Charles Murray   9/20/2013 6:44:07 PM
NO RATINGS
A decade ago, a company called Applied Digital Solutions came out with an injectable ID chip that could be placed into the shoulder of a child. I don't know what happened to it, but this seems far more effective.

http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1226741

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Much better than a leash
mrdon   9/21/2013 11:09:07 PM
NO RATINGS
Charles Murray,

The injectable ID chip sounds painful for a child but this BLE wearable device seems to have a greater appeal because of the non-invasive approach for attaching the unit. I like the fact the range of the device grows based on the number of active notes out in the field. I'm wondering if the network will be self healing like Zigbee or Z-Wave technology where one receiving node will be replaced by a nearby listening router. 

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
NadineJ   9/22/2013 7:58:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Charles, you're correct.  This idea has been around for a long time.  There is an industry dedicated to GPS tracking devices for children.  You can get devices at Sears for about $30.  Some home security systems offer this service as part of a child safety package, including nanny-cams.

Although it's not new, it may be new in Taiwan.  This is very entrepreneurial and can help many other parents who have curious kids that wander off.

An injectable GPS would be more effective against predators though.  All other devices can be easily found and removed.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Elizabeth M   9/23/2013 5:17:42 AM
NO RATINGS
I can see your point about an injectable GPS, NadineJ, but as I sad in a comment to Chuck, I think that seems a little invasive to a child, and a little too much. The thing is, hopefully parents are keeping a close eye on their kids and they don't get lost, but if they do this technology will help them out. In the case of actual abductions, though, you are probably right--these devices seem like they could be removed quite quickly and easily if someone was determined to do so. I suppose the best-case scenario is that a child is located quickly before that happens.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
NadineJ   9/23/2013 11:50:41 AM
NO RATINGS
That's a good point Elizabeth.  From my understanding injectable GPS is no more invasive than a vaccine shot.  Although, that can be traumatic for many kids.

Culture has changed so much over the last few decades.  In the last, a stranger helping out a parent in a store or crowd was welcomed.  That's not as true today.  Having older siblings also helps younger kids stay close.  Kids see one another more easily than adults.  An older brother or sister can be a second set of eyes.  With birthrates falling in many countries, many couples only have one child. 

As I mentioned, it's widely available in the US.  I'm surprised that it's new in the Asian market.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Charles Murray   9/23/2013 6:15:55 PM
NO RATINGS
I think abductions was one of the motivations behind the chip developed by Applied Digital, Liz. There was a terrible problem with abductions in Mexico and Central America at that time.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Elizabeth M   9/23/2013 5:11:44 AM
NO RATINGS
Interesting, but that seems a little intrusive, Chuck, at least in my opinion. I think this bracelet seems like a better option.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Charles Murray   9/23/2013 6:13:14 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Liz. This bracelet is a far better option.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
Nancy Golden   9/23/2013 1:03:52 PM
NO RATINGS
Hi Elizabeth, regarding your remark, "It reminds me of leashes for kids that caught on for a while but seemed a bit bizarre and a little too much like dog leases" I had to laugh. I always felt the same way until we were assigned six preschoolers while volunteering during Vacation Bible School. Although measures were of course taken to ensure the safety of the children, the ensuing chaos often made it difficult and when you had one little escape artist who took great pleasure at running off when your attentuon was diverted for only a fraction of a second - a leash would have been worth its weight in gold. We had to deplete our volunteer resources and assign one person to his full time care...

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Much better than a leash
Elizabeth M   9/24/2013 2:57:14 AM
NO RATINGS
Haha, Nancy--it sounds like a leash would've been a good option for that little rascal. ;) But your story definitely illustrates the point of why using technology like this is a good idea. We have it at our disposal and it's much more practical and comfortable than a leash. Despite people's best efforts to protect their kids, sometimes it's not always enough.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Much better than a leash
Nancy Golden   9/24/2013 9:39:21 AM
NO RATINGS
I don't know, Elizabeth - if you were watching this little rascal you would probably opt for the leash...I am telling you - he was that quick. Knowing him, he would have found a way to lose any wearable monitoring device. When he sees us at church he runs up to us with a big smile and a hug but I am thinking fourth grade sounds much better next year...I'm not as young as I used to be!

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Another use?
GTOlover   9/20/2013 9:17:47 AM
A bunch of teens playing a sophisticated game of hide and seek. Each person wearing the band and trying to avoid being 'tagged'. The challange is to watch out for the public giving away your position with their phone.

And just because I have to, the NSA could help locate children since they seem to have unconstitutional access to all our phones, emails, and online data. I am sure they could "activate" phones to track for specific signals. Sort of like the device in the Dark Knight movie.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Another use?
tekochip   9/20/2013 9:57:17 AM
Nicely played, I love the NSA comment.
 
Since the NSA tracks every single call from every man woman and even child in our great free land, why can't they keep Rachel from Cardmember Services from calling me?


Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Technology
Greg M. Jung   9/20/2013 9:13:53 PM
NO RATINGS
Great application of new technology.  I also like the idea of the next generation version that could also utilize other cellphones in the area to form a finder network should a 'panic' feature be activated by the parent (the device would have to be more hidden and discrete so a kidnapper wouldn't just remove it from the child).

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Technology
Nancy Golden   9/23/2013 12:50:21 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree. the self-sufficient independent americam spirit that bristles at the thought of invading privacy and depending on technology for protection goes out the window when a perceived threat to one's child occurs. As silly as this sounds, I had taken my son to our church for a karate lesson. The church had a karate ministry and offered free lessons twice a week. I took Josh there for his first lesson and escorted him to the gym (I think he was in around the third grade). I made sure that he was part of the class before i left to go do something in another part of the building. When I returned to get him - he was not in obvious sight. I asked one of the instructors where he was and they didn't know. I began looking for him and couldn't find him. My heart started beating faster and faster and I began racing through the building, calling out and looking for my son. I will never forget the panic and helplessness I felt. When I headed back to the gym completely distraught, I found him and another instructor walking down the hall - and in his arms was a brand new karate uniform. When the class had ended she had took him to a storage closet to get him a new uniform...

Even the most diligent parents are not perfect and we live in a different world than the one I grew up in - and often times a very scary one. We used to be gone at sunrise and not return until the street lights came on and parents did not have cause to worry the way they do today. I still find it hard to believe that I was so panicked in my own church home, but the transient nature of our communities and the evil that exists in the world make devices like these much more attractive then years ago. 

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
WEARABLE DEVICES
bobjengr   9/21/2013 2:22:29 PM
NO RATINGS
Excellent Post Elizabeth.  This is a great application of existing technology.  If you are a parent, you have experienced the absolute panic when a child wanders off.   This device is worth its weight in gold and I'm really surprised at the low cost.  It amazes me as to how fast those little legs can travel when the child is unattended.  There are those in the public domain ready, willing and able to take advantage of such a situation.   

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Another Application
Nancy Golden   9/23/2013 12:51:45 PM
NO RATINGS
I think this would also be a valuable application for Alzheimer patients. It could prevent a lot of heartache...

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Another Application
Elizabeth M   9/24/2013 7:51:07 AM
NO RATINGS
That is a really good idea, Nancy, this could really help people with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia. I'm sure it would be a great relief to their families to have a way to look after them.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Another Application
Nancy Golden   9/24/2013 12:38:37 PM
NO RATINGS
Come to think of it, there should be a location sensor in their cars as well. How many times do we see an alert reagrding the elderly and the description of their car in those electronic highway signs...

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
A Wearable Device for Swimming Pool Safety
Nancy Golden   9/23/2013 12:58:15 PM
NO RATINGS
Along the same lines, here is a piece of wearable tech that I used when Josh was a toddler. We have a swimming pool and I was very worried about his safety so I had several layers of protection in place including this device: http://www.safetyturtle.com 

It is a cute turtle on a wristband. If the turtle is immersed in water it sends a signal to the base station and an alarm goes off. It worked great, although I am very grateful we never had a real incident with it. I never turned Josh loose without supervision, but there is just too many horror stories of children drowning even with people present.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: A Wearable Device for Swimming Pool Safety
Elizabeth M   9/24/2013 8:03:21 AM
NO RATINGS
Nancy, that is also another really interesting application of technology and how it can protect children. I just was looking over everyone's comments and from what I'm hearing, it seems like a consensus among parents who have commented that something like this is really useful, although there could also be other variations of similar technology that also could be effective in helping parents look after their kids.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: A Wearable Device for Swimming Pool Safety
Nancy Golden   9/24/2013 12:47:01 PM
NO RATINGS
The idea with swimming pool safety is layers of protection - you want to have multiple safe guards. While this may sound extreme - drownings don't offer second chances. I also had a sensor on my patio door so that I would hear an alarm beep when it was opened - my first layer of defense in that I knew the entrance to the backyard was accessible. I also had a wrought iron fence built around the pool with a child-safe lock. My toddler son is now a teenager and swims very well. We all enjoy the pool, but having these safety precautions for the little ones gives irreplaceable peace of mind. Nothing substitutes for direct parental supervision but even the most diligent parenst are not perfect. Having layers provides safety in those rare moments when they are most needed.

Partner Zone
More Blogs
Check out these strange technology acquisitions. Many of these mergers became burdens the companies couldn't bear.
The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Dr. Kiyoshi Mabuchi and his team members for their work measuring the slipperiness of banana peels. Turns out they're slipperier with the yellow side up.
Many scientists have been working battery-free ways to power wearable electronics that can replace bulky battery packs, particularly through the use of energy-harvesting materials. Now a team of researchers in China have upped the game by developing a lightweight and flexible solar cell that can be woven into two-way energy-harvesting fabric.
Researchers in Canada have developed a chin strap that harvests energy from chewing and can potentially power a digital earplug that can provide both protection and communication capabilities.
In case you haven't heard, the deadline to enter the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards is coming up fast – Oct. 28! Have you entered yet?
Design News Webinar Series
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 20 - 24, How to Design & Build an Embedded Web Server: An Embedded TCP/IP Tutorial
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service