People with Alzheimer’s don’t necessarily want to be found. They won’t respond to their name being called, and they’ll hide anywhere, from dense woods to locked closets. New tracking technology is helping to make it easier to find those who go missing — but it’s still not perfect.
A new company, called iTraq, developed technology to track everything from luggage and cars to pets and people. The credit card-sized device can be placed in a backpack, in a pocket or affixed to a bracelet or lanyard. It’s raised nearly $240,000 on Indiegogo — far surpassing its goal of $35,000 — and will be available in beta in June.
Instead of GPS, iTraq uses cell towers to locate the devices, which means it can be tracked over really far distances — which is very important if someone has decided to hop on a bus or get in a car.
iTraq is already seeing an interest from Alzheimer’s caregivers, especially since it uses geo-fencing technology, which lets caregivers set a pre-defined area and receive an alert as soon as the device leaves it. What’s more, the battery lasts a really long time — up to three years on one charge.
iTraq costs $49, which is cheaper than existing technology, especially since it doesn’t come with a monthly service fee.
There are over 125,000 search-and-rescue missions for Alzheimer’s patients every year. That is only set to increase as baby boomers continue to age — by 2050, it’s estimated the number of people with the disease could triple, from 5.1 million to 13.8 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. About six in 10 will wander.
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