Feeds

A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally

Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Trakdot is a little device you hide in your suitcase so that if an airline loses your luggage, you can, in theory, find it. Inside is a SIM card with a global roaming agreement, and the necessary electronics to connect to GSM mobile networks.

As the aeroplane trundles down the runway, the gadget uses an accelerometer to detect that it's going really fast and so, like any good international traveller, it goes to sleep. Then after a preset period, it wakes up, and wonders: "Are we nearly there yet?" It can answer its own question in a receive-only mode, as GSM has protocols for doing so whether you're moving slowly, fairly slowly or quickly.

This means it doesn't contravene any rules on the use of radios in aircraft, and it is approved by the FCC, FAA and various other international bodies for use. Trakdot claim a three to four-week batty life for its luggage black box.

The Trakdot locator

Your suitcase's black box

Modern mobile cell networks are well-designed so that aircraft in flight can not receive their signals, so for the most part it's unlikely that a mid-air Samsonite will think it has made landfall.

If, however, it picks up transmissions from a mobile phone network, it assumes that it has arrived and wakes up fully. It then establishes the cell tower's identity, which it sends home. Trackdot maintains a database of cell IDs around airports, and works out where the luggage has arrived. It then sends the owner a text message identifying which bag is at which airport.

There is no GPS because it's not particularly useful when the device is in a baggage hold: the chances of acquiring one, let alone three or four, satellite signals is remote.

If your flight has multiple stops, or more accurately if the flight the bags were on had multiple stops, a map on the Trakdot website shows where it has been and when.

There are a few limitations. Japan has no GSM coverage, and Trakdot doesn't have a roaming agreement with Italy. The device costs £79.99 in the UK, and after the first year there is an annual $12 (£7.18) fee for the SIM contract.

But that's not too much to pay for the knowledge that your luggage is lost and that you should give up waiting at the baggage carousel. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.