LightBug takes the best features of a Bluetooth tag and combines them with the functionality of a full GPS/GPRS tracker.
While there are plenty of trackers available today, a vast majority of them rely on Bluetooth to detect the whereabouts of the device. However, once out of range, these trackers essentially serve very little purpose. That’s where LightBug is looking to come in handy.
No larger than a stick of gum, the LightBug is small enough to discreetly clip onto a keychain, bag, clothes, pets or anything else you don’t want to lose, and unlike others on the market, packs GPS capabilities. Meaning, in the event a Bluetooth connection is broken, you’ll still be able to pinpoint an object with an accuracy of 50cm. The gadget works by sending its location over any available mobile phone network via a roaming SIM. What’s more, the LightBug is solar powered, and can be charged through its microUSB port should it need a quick boost of juice.
Aside from everyday items, LightBug can also help parents keep tabs on wandering children or caregivers to monitor the elderly, particularly those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can even be employed for fitness-related activities as it can be worn on your shoe and used to track your runs.
How it works is pretty simple. GPS satellites tell LightBug where it is. The GPRS network sends the location to the cloud, where the information is securely stored. This data is then relayed to LightBug’s accompanying app. The app allows you to manage push notifications, establish geofences, retrieve historical data, sound a buzzer and launch navigation.
Additionally, alerts can be setup for a wide range of things, such as proximity to your phone. Proximity alerts will detect if the unit is no longer nearby using Bluetooth and will trigger automatic position updates. Alternatively, you can draw areas on a map that are either “safe zones” or “danger zones” and receive notifications when boundaries are crossed. Other notification triggers include time of day, detection of a falls and speed.
“LightBug is like a Bluetooth proximity tag on steroids because it’s still useful when you’re not near it. Unlike other tags, it doesn’t rely on loads of people having the same app installed because it can determine and send its location on its own. Like Bluetooth Tags though, you can use the app to make the buzzer ring to help you find stuff, and also use your phone to home in on it, helping you find stuff quicker indoors,” the team writes.
Measuring just 45mm x 23.5mm x 11mm in size and weighing only 20g, the LightBug can be unnoticeably attached to anything from your bag to your drone. In terms of hardware, the device is equipped with an ATxmega128A4U MCU, an accelerometer for movement detection, a pair of solar panels and a microUSB port for charging, a LiPo battery, a piezo buzzer for alerts, an LED and an GSM/GPRS modem.
“Basically, LightBug integrates an old school mobile phone, solar panels, a solar charger, Bluetooth, a really, really good GPS and has amazing battery life,” its creators add.
Looking ahead, the team hopes to release a public API early next year, which will enable you to build apps around LightBug — whether that’s a location-based game for your pet or a scavenger hunt for you and your friends. Aside from that, they will be integrating the tracker with IFTTT.
Tired of losing things? Head over to its Kickstarter campaign, where LightBug is currently seeking $77,782. Delivery is expected to begin in January 2016.