Wandering and eloping are common problems among people with Alzheimer’s disease and autism. It’s easy for people with these conditions to get confused about where they are or distracted by something they want to do or see. They may fail to understand the dangers they may face walking off on their own, and they may not be able to communicate the fact that they’re lost or where they came from to anyone who finds them. Wandering is one of the most common, complex, burdensome, and costly behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s and autism.
Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or autism who wander have tried everything to keep their loved ones from wandering off and getting lost or putting themselves in danger. Some people use alarms or locks on their doors, hiding keys and other items they may try to grab before leaving the house, and more.
GPS trackers are also a handy way to keep track of a person who has a history of wandering. However, there’s an issue with many of these trackers—if the person doesn’t wear or carry them at all times, they don’t work.
Now a company called GTX Corp, a provider of location-based wearables human and asset tracking systems, is working on a type of tracker that will be much more likely to be being worn at the time that a person wanders away.
The patented GPS SmartSoles contain a Nordic Cat M1 LTE GPS module connected through cellular networks that send a GPS location to the GTX central monitoring website and app. GTX Corp is currently working on development so that its app can be used on both iOS and Android. The device is able of operating globally without any variations.
The new device is worn in the sole of the person’s shoe. So if he or she is already out and about with a caretaker and wanders away, the device will remain attached to them for the duration of the time they’re away from their caretaker. As long as the person has a tendency to put their shoes on before leaving the house, they’ll be trackable using GPS SmartSoles.
Of course, this device still won’t work for everyone. If a person with Alzheimer’s or autism tends to leave the house without their shoes on or likes to take their shoes off all the time, the tracking device may be left behind or lost. But the more different types of trackers we invent, the more people will be able to find a type of tracker that works for them and their needs.
SmartSoles come in three trim-to-fit sizes that can be used for most men, women, and children. They are water-resistant and include an inductive charging pad.
GTX has begun testing its product in North America, Europe, and Australia. It is undergoing the regulatory certification process so that their product can be made available to the general public. They’re also working with Verizon to achieve device network certification so that cellular connectivity can be provided to the entire North American market. Testing is being done with Orange and Telefonica for connectivity in Australia and Europe.
Beyond use for people with Alzheimer’s and autism, SmartSoles may also be useful for people with traumatic brain injury and those at high risk of kidnapping. We can’t wait to see the amazing things this device will do!Whizzco