July 10, 2014
LG Introduces Wristband That Lets Parents Track Their Children
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
South Korean electronics giant LG has unveiled a new piece of wearable technology that makes it possible for parents to keep tabs on their pre-school or primary school children via an app on their smartphones or tablets.
The device is known as the KizON wristband, and it uses GPS and Wi-Fi to deliver real-time information about a youngster’s location to the parent over a 2G or 3G mobile Internet connection, the company announced on Wednesday. The wristband will also allow parents to directly contact the wristband and receive an automatic response, they added.
According to Samuel Gibbs of The Guardian, the device is similar to a bulky watch and has a single button on the top which instantly dials a pre-programmed number so that the child can contact his or her parent or guardian in an emergency. It has a battery life of 36 hours, but also sends an alert to the parents when the charge dips below 25 percent.
The One Step Direct Call feature, which allows communication between parents and children, requires a smartphone running Android 4.1 or higher, the company said. If a parent calls their son or daughter and fails to receive a response in 10 seconds, KizON automatically connects the call and allows the mother or father to listen through a built-in microphone. It can also be programmed to send location alerts at specific times throughout a day.
“Children as well as the elderly are ideal customers for wearable technologies,” explained LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company president and CEO Dr. Jong-seok Park. “Wearables allow us to stay connected without the worry of losing a device or the inconvenience of having to carry a large item in a pocket. At LG, we’re committed to exploring more ways to incorporate wearable devices into consumers’ lives.”
The KizON wristband is made of blue, pink or green plastic. It is also water and stain resistant, and will be offered with a variety of different accessories, including animated characters that can be used to help keep the children interested in the large device and to personalize it. LG plans to release the device Thursday in South Korea, then in Europe and North America before the end of the year.
Of course, devices such as this, as well as a similar unit previously announced by UK company KMS and on display during the CES consumer electronics trade show in January, have “already raised some questions about whether such devices are too invasive and breach children’s privacy,” said Washington Post reporter Jiaxi Lu.
“Tracking devices for children have split opinion. Some parents seeing it as a great way of keeping tabs on their kids while giving them more freedom to roam, knowing they will be able to pinpoint their location at any time,” added Gibbs. “Others have seen it as part of a dystopian future, where a child's every move is tracked, judged and tagged like a convicted criminal released back into society.”