January 9, 2009
by Ariel Adams
Are you the obsessively protective type of parent? Do you want your toddler or pre-teen sporting a watch? Do you think they won’t notice the fact that you bring a WiMax or other Internet equipped laptop when ever you follow them out to play? Well, if you can say yes to any of these questions, the num8 might be a good purchase for you. British company LOK8U (“locate you,” yes, very clever…) is about to release this GPS equipped digital watch in the US with a debut at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. If you look past some obvious flaws, the num8 is a really awesome piece of technology. Oh, and LOK8U… here in America we have no idea when or what 14:42 is unless we are in the military, and no GI would be caught dead wearing this. Actually, I can totally see the military making soldiers wear these, so they might actually be caught dead wearing them.
Lets go over the major flaws right away. 1) You need to use the Internet (probably ok via a smart phone too) to locate your brood. 2) Any rascally (or semi independent kid) who is able to count jelly beans is gonna figure out really quick that for mommy and daddy to stop playing big brother, they just need to take the big plastic thing on their wrist off (LOK8U note to self, “make next version attach with single handcuff, not plastic, no big goofy key”). 3) This device is not going to have a battery life long enough to find your child who has been kidnapped by criminally disabled ransomers. Aside from these issues, the technology is pretty cool.
The included GPS tracking system is viewable on a Google Maps like map from the Internet. You’ll see a beacon of where the wearer is, and you can even set “notice parameters.” Meaning if children stray out of a predesignated area, you can get e-mail and SMS (text message) alerts. The device says that it can also send you a text message when the watch is removed. Meaning that if your youngster takes the watch off you should be sent a text message. I’d have to see how this works. It reminds me too much of the beginning of Running Man with the neck collars. Remember? The open prison where if an inmate strayed too far their head would explode. Well your kid’s wrist won’t blow off, but your phone will blow up (“device separation alert!”). All sorts of “security” features are built in apparently. This is going to make for some very safe, very sad children.
When I see this device, I think about all the non-child related uses that it might have. Spousal control, super secret spy games, pet monitoring, and just plain “I know where you are” fun!” The device itself will be about $220 bucks with various monthly service fees depending on your level of offspring attachment.
See GPS monitoring devices on eBay here.