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“KidTrack” – Pervasive System prototype

17 Jan 2015

Child safety is consistently a topic of major discussion in modern society and this topic is of utmost importance to a very large majority of society. Pervasive systems interact with their environments, which act as a powerful architecture for information to be transferred within an environment. The domain of this system is within the wearable category, comprised of a wristband capable of capturing GPS data and communicating it via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet. As a result of this constant transfer of data, information regarding the safety threshold in regards to the proximity of a child will be extrapolated and shown to the carer.

The KidTrack wristband prototype is a device which can be monitored via a smartphone/tablet. It is also waterproof and durable, which is essential for child users because it can withstand shock and damage. Furthermore, wearable devices such as wristbands require much smaller components than most other sets of devices (e.g. mobile phone, tablet). Therefore the level of power consumption is likely to be much less, and the likelihood of losing the device is reduced, as it is fixed onto the user’s wrist.

The target users for KidTrack, from a monitoring perspective, are within the adult demographic. This is due to parents/carers and grandparents being the main users of the system; as mentioned in Section 5, there is a high number of grandparents looking after children. This enforces that the system must be usable for the growing demographic of older people using technology. Furthermore this is discussed in the Usability Research section of the document. The type of children that the KidTrack system is targeted at young children (4-11). This is because the system focuses on monitoring within a set radius rather than global location tracking, as many other systems have implemented. Moreover the KidTrack system is more fitting for younger children in a playground environment, or in a location that is very close to their parent/carer. Additionally, older children with disabilities which may inhibit their social development will also benefit from using the system.

The project described in this document is a pervasive system, emphasising on child safety. It is tailored to be used for outdoor environments such as playgrounds and parks where parents usually bring their children to play. It is limited to outdoor environments only, due to the fact it needs a strong broadcast signal for collecting tracking data using GPS.

Another factor that influenced the scope of the environment was the Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity range. The connectivity range for one of the latest BLE technologies developed (4.2) is optimised to transmit to a distance of up to 300 meters (when used outdoors), where there are no obstructions that could interfere with the signal. Therefore, the supervisor will be limited by the interfacing software(mobile app) to monitor the tracking device within the range of 30 meters and 200 meters. The minimum threshold is considered a sensible range for a child, who needs a more careful supervision, and the maximum threshold ensures that the supervisor will still be able to track the position of the device if it is in the range of up to 300m.

The pervasive system could be used within smaller and larger families, allowing supervisors to pair the monitoring device with as many tracking devices as desired. This is an essential capability of the system since, as a carer, supervising multiple children at once in a busy playground can be a very challenging and energy consuming process.