Oh! We know how that feels!
When an airline misplaces your luggage, and has no clue as to which co-ordinate of the world it has been unknowingly thrown into, that’s the time when you run out of words. The cuss words, of course.
To overcome this sheer misery, one start-up company called GlobaTrac has unveiled a $50 cellular device, which can fit into your luggage and pinpoint its location on the world map. The device is known as Trakdot and was showcased in the recent Consumers Electronics Show (CES).
The device, which is very small in dimensions, can easily fit into any luggage (except metal), and uses a GSM chip to pinpoint the location of your luggage. When asked as to why they didn’t use a GPS receiver, GlobaTrac CTO Joseph Morgan clarified that GPS signals don’t get receipted properly, if the skies are not clear enough. So, if your baggage lands up in a country where the skies are not clear enough, it can still get lost.
Though deploying a GSM receiver was the ultimate way out, it came at a price. To locate itself, the device had to communicate with various cell towers in the vicinity. And considering the probability that your luggage could end up in any part of the world, special arrangements had to be made to make sure every nearby tower communicates with the device.
Morgan clarified the fact by stating that they operate a small wireless carrier Aspenta, which has roaming agreements with major carriers across the world. Hence, Trakdot should work perfectly in almost every country on the world.
The device uses two AA batteries, which can last up to three weeks on a continuous run. The device also shuts itself down for 20 minutes during take-off. It senses the plane’s take-off through the inbuilt accelerometer and switches back to receive mode, as soon as the flight reaches an acceptable height.
The device also uses an inbuilt Bluetooth device to initiate communications with your phone (need to have an iPhone or Android device), when it’s approaching you on the conveyer belt. You can track its movements on the belt, and thereby avoid any undesirable commotion in claiming your luggage.
You are required to pay an additional $12 per year to access the manufacturer’s services, which would allow you to track the luggage on website. The device would also send you text alerts on its whereabouts. Apparently, the service would require a one-time activation fee of $8, after which it could be renewed at $12 a year.
However, that’s a small price to pay for complete peace of mind. Though the device cannot avoid the occasional goof-ups by the Airlines, it can at least provide better assurances about the location of your baggage than airport authorities.