In a power session with Child Angel Founder and CEO Andrew Purcell, we got a closer look at the newest prototype of their child-tracking GPS bracelet.
Andrew Purcell opened with a story about the time one of his children wandered off in the mall, causing him to switch into that worst-case-scenario mode that every parent knows all too well. "It seemed like an eternity, even though it was probably only a few seconds," Purcell explained. "Still, that feeling was horrible. I wanted to do something about it so that no one would have to feel that way. Not even for those few seconds."
Shortly thereafter, the idea of Child Angel hatched into something tangible. First there was a bracelet design, then multiple prototypes. The current design is a bracelet made of white plastic and adjustable, colorful rubber straps.
The white plastic piece on top includes LED indicators and an alarm function that a child can press when he or she is lost, an action which notifies the parent immediately. Parents can also set geofencing preferences so that they will be notified when their child wanders beyond a certain range. The GPS tracking technology and a battery give the bracelet some bulkiness and weight.
We handled the prototypes at the show for long enough to deem them a bit too cumbersome for everyday use, especially when they're meant to be worn by active children. Purcell hopes that clever clip-on plastic covers featuring favorite cartoon characters, athletes, or whatever else may be trending at the time, will help make kids want to wear the bracelets despite their heft.
Tracking your child daily sounds like a lot to handle as a long-term plan, but Purcell thinks Child Angel has a more promising use as a rented device. He aims to sell Child Angel devices and services to amusement parks so that parents can rent the devices for the day to keep track of their children in particularly hectic or crowded areas. "I talked to people in many amusement parks around England, and over 80% said they would have hired one for the day. Many asked if they could buy one straight away," said Purcell. He also hopes to extend to other markets: Care Angel for the elderly, and Pet Angel for dogs and cats.
Earlier this week, Child Angel launched an Indiegogo campaign to help get Child Angel into production. The bracelets currently retail for around $190, plus an additional 25 cents per day for data services.