One of the simplest functions of a wearable device is to simply announce “I am here.” Yet this simple operation can have a wide range of practical applications. Attached to a car or other valuable object, it can tell you where to find it if it is misplaced or stolen. Put it on a child’s backpack, and you can locate the child at any time. Or put it on an elderly person to track their movements, including using a “geo-fencing” function to issue an alert if the person wanders off beyond a pre-defined boundary.
The Guardian Patch is a new product that could have a big impact on wearable Health Tech devices. The device is not scheduled to ship until 2017, but the company describes it as a patch that you can stick onto objects and then track them wirelessly using a smartphone app. According to the company, the system is designed to work anywhere in the world, independent of GPS or cellular data service. And the device reportedly will be low power, with an internal battery that lasts for up to a year. The strip will also have a distress alert function; remove the strip from its object and it will broadcast an alert to anyone who is registered to track that Patch. The company states that the retail price is expected to be about $40.
The company does not reveal details about the underlying technology, but it apparently uses a chip being developed by Gopher Protocol named GopherInsight that creates an “inner-mobile private, secured network.” Each chip has a unique ID, and it’s possible that the system is designed to relay location data from one Patch to another. Perhaps we’ll find out more about how it works as we get closer to the ship date, but this sort of functionality could presumably be incorporated into a range of wearable devices, including those intended for Health Tech applications.