A new Kickstarter project aims to provide a low-cost, open source platform for building a GPS tracking device. The author, Wayne Truchsess of DSS Circuits, explains that a few years back, his brother in law had a PS3 stolen during a long power outage in the depths of winter. Not wanting to repeat history, Wayne bought a fake PS3 case on eBay and developed his own prototype position tracker to put inside it.
The tracker consists of a GSM cellular modem, a GPS unit, and an accelerometer, all tied to an Arduino and a LiPo battery to provide brains and power, respectively. Normally, the device lies in wait, asleep to save power. If it detects motion, it turns on the modem and alerts a preconfigured phone number via SMS. The owner can then respond with various commands to turn position tracking on or put the device back to sleep.
The prototype worked well, but used a lot of different components that were only loosely tied together. This made it difficult for Wayne to tell others how to replicate the project, and also took up a lot of room inside the case. After getting a lot of interest in the project, he decided to condense everything down to one board, and thus this Kickstarter project was born.
If funding goals are met (as of this writing there is 52 days and less than $500 to go), Wayne will complete the project and open source the code, schematics, and board design. He is offering the bare bones populated board at the $126 backing level, so as long as he isn’t relying too heavily on volume discounts, it seems likely that others could make their own device around that price point.
As the project writeup mentions, a theft tracking device is just one great idea that this platform enables. GPS, cellular, and motion detection is a powerful sensing combination, and there’s really no limit to the projects that could be devised using the same package.
If you like the project, check out the Kickstarter page and consider donating so Wayne can bring some Arduino tracker goodness to the masses. Do you have your own idea for a Kickstarter project? Let us know!