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2/10/2009
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Car Tracker LoJack Expands App To Find Loved Ones

The product is aimed primarily at the families of 5.2 million American Alzheimer's patients, who may wander off.

LoJack, the company that specializes in finding stolen autos, has unveiled a specialized application for finding lost or wandering people, such as individuals with Alzheimer's, autism, and Down syndrome.

Launched Tuesday, the LoJack SafetyNet is aimed primarily at the 5.2 million American Alzheimer's patients, who often wander off and don't remember how to return home. LoJack said the product is leveraging its longtime Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, which is established in law enforcement agencies in 26 states and more than 30 countries.

LoJack SafetyNet also draws on LoJack's April acquisition of Locator Systems and that company's nonprofit Lifesaver International project, which was established with more than 900 public safety agencies.

"This offering is a natural extension of LoJack's family of products and services and takes our solutions beyond 'getting the bad guys' off the streets to now protecting those afflicted with cognitive disorders by helping return them safely," said Ronald V. Waters, president and CEO of LoJack, in a statement.

Location-based technologies have been used to find wandering individuals -- both children and adults -- for several years. Care Trak International has operated a service in cooperation with public safety agencies for years and claims it has "found" more than 2,000 lost individuals.

A locator service founded in 2002 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak launched with high hopes of tracking wanderers as well as pets, animals, and children. The service was shut down after it didn't pan out. Wozniak used the 900-MHz spectrum band for the service, which had a two-mile range between base stations. Early plans to connect users to the Internet through a network of base stations were never fulfilled.

A more recent system by Skyhook Wireless that utilizes a combination of Wi-Fi and GPS technologies has proven to be effective in locating individuals both outdoors and indoors.

The LoJack and Care Trak services typically cost around $25 to $30 a month.

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