Bluetooth LE powers your child’s wrist watch in a new wearable that’s setting out to make your kids safer.
Advertised as the “Guardian Angel for your child”, they’re low cost, low energy devices that can make herding kids a heck of a lot easier than herding cats – or at least helps you track when one of your charges has strayed from the playground.
With Apple’s recent launch of iBeacons, there’s suddenly a lot of people talking about Bluetooth LE. And with good reason: it’s either an NFC-killer or, at the very least, the first contactless technology that’s supported by most of the major phone platforms.
But when it comes to what it can do, we mostly hear about retail applications: walking into a store and getting a coupon for canned soup as you stand in the aisle, or getting information about a work of art as you browse through a gallery.
(While on that note, I’m a big fan of what the Royal Ontario Museum has done with their new ScopifyApp – but maybe it’s because it’s in my home town. It uses QR codes instead of Bluetooth LE, but it’s a good example of what could be done with Bluetooth LE instead).
But it’s not just invisible beacons in the world around us that makes Bluetooth LE such a winner. With a low energy profile that’s gentle on battery life, these little beacons can have a small little home: your child’s wrist (and eventually your pet’s collar according to the BeLuvv website).
Buckle Up with Bluetooth LE
The Guardian is a small buckle that can be pinned to a shirt or attached to a band and worn as a bracelet (or anklet). Inside, Bluetooth LE acts as a beacon – sending a small packet of data to nearby mobile devices and calculating range based on the signal strength.
The parent has an app that can keep track of how far away their child is. Like all iBeacon technology, the app can run quietly in the background even when it’s closed or the phone’s lock screen is on, but will wake up to alert you if your child goes out of range.
I love these little devices – and think kids will love them too. They have a soft-edged design and appealing color palette.
But I love them even more for the reminder they give: that Bluetooth LE won’t just power physical stores or museums, they’ll power devices as well…and that their use cases can be rich, personal and can take us well beyond digital coupons into safety, health and keeping track of the natural explorers who see the whole world as their playground.
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