Home opinion-and-analysis Fuzzy Logic Watch GPS locator 'œLOK8U' locates kids from £5 per month

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What looks like a regular digital watch to your kids is a GPS location system designed to gives parents peace of mind. It sounds like a great idea for younger children, but for older kids their GPS-equipped phones and special software can do the same thing, today.

UK company “num8” demonstrated the “world’s first GPS locator device that has been specifically designed with children in mind” at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and the development has received worldwide attention.

num8’s “breakthrough” is to deliver this locator on a watch, although it’s hardly the first GPS watch – Casio delivered one years ago.

In a similar vein, this isn’t the “world’s first” GPS locator device for kids, either.

iTWire reported on a device called the “iKids” back in 2006 which offered similar GPS location capabilities in a mobile phone with a handful of buttons to make calls to pre-programmed numbers.

The i-Kids site used to have a link to Australia, but it mustn’t have been very popular over here because the Australian link has now been removed, and indeed, while the main site works, each link now exclaims that the "service is no longer available", so a lack of interest seems to have killed that device.

Still, the i-Kids device was a phone that needed to be attached to a lanyard and worn like a necklace – the LOK8U from num8 is a watch that attaches to your child’s wrist, making it much harder to lose and much more practical to "wear".

num8 makes note of this crucial difference, saying on its website that “unlike similar locator products, num8 has been cleverly concealed in a child’s digital watch that is securely fastened to your child and cannot be removed or deactivated without your knowledge. No other child locator in the world can match this.”

Like the i-Kids device before it, and like on GPS-equipped phones that are set up with GPS location software for parents or employers to track children or employees, the LOK8U can also be set up with a virtual fence as a ‘safe zone’, which also alerts you by SMS and/or email “if your child steps outside this zone”.

num8 says the LOK8U uses the same “pinpoint precise GPS technology used in SatNav systems” and is “accurate to within 3 metres.”

So, what else makes the LOK8U different, what other features do it offer, and what are the costs? Please read on to page 2.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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