Everything just keeps getting smaller. A New Zealand company called Rakon has developed what they say is the world’s smallest GPS chip. Tinier than your pinkie nail, I’m inclined to agree with them. At that size, it could be integrated into pretty much anything someone might want to track. Imagine all the pen thieves in the world finally being held accountable for their petty larceny.
Don’t start sweating quite yet my pen purloining pals. GPS tracking chips have been smaller than coins for quite a while, and fairly inexpensive to manufacture. Ballpoint bandits, like myself (I can admit it. The first step is admitting I have a problem) can take heart from the fact that, though it’s the main component in a tracker, it’s not the only one. GPS devices also require antennas and power, which take up more space.
The main barrier to making tiny GPS trackers isn’t currently the chips themselves. They’ve been tiny for years; it’s powering them for any length of time. If you want a tracker that can stay off the charger for more than a few hours, it will need to be measured in inches, not millimeters. That isn’t to say that microtrackers aren’t coming. They’ll be here soon, in fact (I hope), along with laptops that can run for a full day or more without tethering them to the wall. This is the same issue that’s held back the US military from deploying exoskeletons that enhance strength and speed for all their soldiers. Researchers have come up with some pretty impressive stuff already. We just have to wait for them to figure out how to power them. Which allows me to keep my pen collection growing.
(Image via Auto Navigation GPS)