Sometimes, health and safety depends simply on knowing where someone is. A child gets separated from family members in a crowd. An elderly person wanders off. A hiker or skier gets lost or injured in an outdoor setting. The difference between tragedy and a non-event often comes down to how long it takes to find the missing person. There are smartphone apps and tracker devices that rely on cell phone signals, but these are not always practical choices and often come with significant monthly service fees.

LynQ is a personal tracker that takes a different approach. The company has created a mobile device (that you can easily clip to a belt, dog collar, backpack, or other item). You can pair up to 12 of these, and then use them to locate the other paired devices. It works at ranges up to 3 miles, and the display shows both the distance and the direction to the target tracker. Best of all, it does not require a smartphone and there is no monthly fee. The devices run for up to three days on a single charge, and are weatherproof and waterproof. You can define a home base so  that all trackers can find their way back to the common point, and you can also set up a geofence range that triggers alerts if that individual strays beyond that distance. And since it does not rely on cell phone services, you can use it in wilderness settings where a signal might not be reliable.

The system has been tested in settings from military operations to music festivals. In military testing, the LynQ was three times more accurate than GPS, and in search-and-rescue scenarios, wounded or unconscious subjects were found 61% faster. Without the devices, searchers sometimes passed within feet of the target subject without locating them. The devices are available for pre-order on Indiegogo for about $90 per unit, with shipment expected in the U.S. before the end of 2018.