Alzheimer’s Victims Fitted With LoJack


First it was for finding stolen cars, then keeping track of criminals, now Alzheimer’s sufferers are being fitted with tracking devices. This has been going on for some time now, but unlike the old tracking devices we’re seeing an update in technology to take advantage of the cell network for communications. The person wearing the device can be located using Uplink Time Difference Of Arrival or U-TDOA. This is the same technology that is used by 911 services to calculate the location of a cell phone.

Alzheimer’s is a frightening disease. The thought of a loved one wandering off with nothing to identify them and no recollection of who they are is a fear of every family dealing with the illness. There’s no doubt that this is a cost-effective solution that really works.

But from our perspective, can someone hot-glue a $3 Seiko to this thing? If you were designing this, would you even consider something that straps to your wrist and doesn’t have a clock on its face?

Update: Andrew corrected an error in the original post.  This system uses U-TDOA for location, not GPS.

Update: Jeremy works for LoJack and has informed us that the product in the post and the technology used have nothing to do with the LoJack brand of products.

23 thoughts on “Alzheimer’s Victims Fitted With LoJack

  1. These are not GPS devices at all, and neither is LoJack.

    All they do is broadcast an RF signal that can be used by authorities to track down the source when they are nearby.

    GPS is a completely different animal, and the terminology is extensively abused in the mainstream press. I am honestly surprised to see Hack-a-day confusing the issue.

  2. From the article you linked:
    Seiko produces both quartz and mechanical watches of varying prices. The least expensive are around ¥4,000 (US$45) (Alba); the most expensive (Credor JURI GBBX998) costs ¥50,000,000 (US$554,000).

    Seikos aren’t crappy.

  3. >But from our perspective, can someone hot-glue a $3 Seiko to this thing?

    It’s kind of pointless. If an Alzheimer’s sufferer looked to see what time it was they’d have to check again a few seconds later.

  4. I got something similar for my cat:

    It has come in handy many, many times. He spends almost all of his time outdoors in the summer and goes FAR away. One summer he left for a month. Now he usually doesn’t leave for more than a day (not as many mice to eat?) but this comes in handy for example when we need to go on vacation and have to bring the cats to their babysitter’s house.

  5. Dave: Hey Steve, good to see you Hows the Alzheimer’s coming along?

    Steve: Oh hi Dave im just about getting by, it’s a bit scary not remembering where you are sometimes though.

    Dave: Thats terrible um.. whats with the faceless watch

    Steve: arghh where the F**k did that come from [throws it in the nearest bin] …….Oh hi Dave?

    Did anyone else see this happening?

  6. While a little bit of “what if” scenarios for
    ruggedizing a product is a welcome part of any
    well engineered device. The sick attempts at
    “humor” (humour for our UK audience) at the expense
    of Alzheimers VICTIMS (yes they are “victims” of
    a disease) are disgusting. Proper karma would be
    someone in your family (or perhaps even yourselves)
    develop the disease and then we’ll see how funny
    it is.

  7. Hi Mike – I work at LoJack and wanted to notify you that we have a tracking device that helps law enforcement search for people who wander, including those with Alzheimer’s. It’s called LoJack SafetyNet and what you’ve detailed above is from a different company. LoJack SafetyNet is based on Radio Frequency technology and features a Personal Locator Unit worn around a client’s wrist or ankle. Police and other public safety officials use Search and Rescue Receivers to track the person who wanders. If you could either edit this post or remove mentions of LoJack in the headline, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

  8. See the issue with this is, an uncle of mine from india is an engineer, he lives with his daughter and suffers from Alzheimers, they got him something like this, BUT! he takes it off in like a minuet.

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