Track anything for $40?
Desire: I’d like to be able to track physical things—myself, backpacks, other people’s cars. Don’t ask me why. I’m mischievous. I’d like the solution to be low-cost enough that it isn’t painful to toss the tracker in a car and expect to never get it back.
Background: I’ve looked into the pre-built systems used for tracking fleet trucks and cars. They come with a cell-connection and GPS. They would be perfect if they didn’t cost a lot of money and weren’t both clunky and large. I’ve also looked into building something starting from a stand-alone bluetooth GPS receiver—but that already puts me up past the $50 mark, and it still has no way of phoning home.
Solution: The solution is pretty simple. A low-cost tracking system needs a cell-connection and a GPS. Some pay-as-you-go cell-phones come with a GPS, or at least cell-tower triangulation. If we can just get some software onto the thing to power it up every 30 minutes, spin up the GPS, take a reading, send an SMS with the location, and power down again, we’d be done. I’m not sure whether it’s possible to load new software onto pre-paid phones, but I’d be interested to find out.
There are are already some companies selling a phone which does something similar (for tracking your children—i.e., spying) for around $160 dollars.
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