Beating the Thieves With Location Tracking Technology

Jul 05, 2004

Police aim to 'design out' crime by equipping valuable items with tracking devices that sound an alert or record their movement. They are being helped by electronic engineers at the University of Leeds who are devising a way of locating objects using widely-available technology.

Using Bluetooth – a short-range communications technology incorporated into many mobile phones and computers – researchers are creating networks which locate devices in relation to each other and track them using monitoring software. By collecting location information an administrator can keep track of valuable assets.

Bluetooth gives out a radio signal that is picked up by similarly-equipped devices. Leeds electronic engineers have discovered a way of measuring the distance between them by measuring the time signals take to travel between them. If, for example a computer is moved, an alert will sound and a record of its unauthorised movement can be used in court.

David Walsh, of electronic and electrical engineering, said: “The main application is for crime detection and prevention. By locating equipment to half a metre radius or less it will be a deterrent to crime. If something is stolen it will be possible to pinpoint the exact location it was stolen from.”

Dr Walsh hopes the technique will be adopted more widely. “If it works well enough it could be used for locating firefighters in a burning building or to keep track of equipment on large industrial sites, instead of blueprints which have to be constantly revised.”

The joint two-year £240,000 project with Imperial College is being carried out with the Home Office’s Police Scientific Development Branch and the Forensic Science Services. Dr Walsh is working with Dr Andy Kemp, Dr John Cooper, Dr Gary Brodin and colleagues at the Institute of Satellite Navigation.

Source: University of Leeds

Explore further: Power to the batteries

Related Stories

GOES-R satellite begins environmental testing

15 hours ago

The GOES-R satellite, slated to launch in 2016, is ready for environmental testing. Environmental testing simulates the harsh conditions of launch and the space environment once the satellite is in orbit. ...

Oldest-known stone tools pre-date Homo

May 20, 2015

Scientists working in the desert badlands of northwestern Kenya have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans, and by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered. ...

Recommended for you

Domino's taking orders via tweet

12 hours ago

Domino's on Wednesday launched perhaps the easiest way to satisfy a pizza craving this side of mind reading: order by tweet.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.