The iPhone and other smartphones have revolutionized our ability to be connected to one another and even keep tabs on where our loved ones are. Using our handsets and apps like Find My Friends, we can rest easy knowing that, if trouble arises, our friends or family can easily find us. Unfortunately, young children and the elderly often cannot or will not benefit from this level of connectedness. One organization, MDI, is aiming to solve that problem with the launch of the Orbi Mini Clip-Phone Tracker, currently seeking funding on Indiegogo.
Dean Finnegan, the CEO of MDI, explained the problem in a recent statement:
Parents don’t want their 3–10 year old children to have a smart phone because of the unrestricted Internet access, social skill implications, and the expense. The elderly typically don’t like the large size or complexity of smart phones. The Orbi is the perfect solution.
The Orbi is a small device that provides full-featured phone functionality along with one-touch dialing to 30 preprogrammed numbers, automatic conversion of text to speech, and standard messaging. There are also 20 preprogrammed text messages that can be sent with a single touch. While most similar safety devices for children and the elderly are limited to calling or texting preset numbers, the Orbi has no such restrictions.
The Orbi can be clipped to a key chain, belt loop, backpack, bicycle, golf bag, scooter, or walker. It can also be attached to flat surfaces like a lunch box or television remote. Using the snap-on “ring band,” Orbi can also be worn on the wrist.
For tracking, the My Orbi App will allow parents and loved ones to see one or more current Orbi locations as well as the devices’ whereabouts over the previous 24 hours. The locations are automatically tracked on Google Maps, and a geofencing feature will allow for alerts when your loved ones arrive at or leave from preset locations. The My Orbi App will constantly communicate with the devices, downloading and sharing contacts, text and call history, location data, and all settings.
MDI is launching two versions of the Orbi in Spring 2016, both with commitments by major cellular carriers. Orbi 1 will feature a single-button intuitive interface, and will be launched on the T-Mobile network with up to two hours of talk time and 500 text messages per month. It will retail for an estimated $129.99, and service will cost $9.99 per month with no contract.
For a bit more capability, the Orbi 2 will feature a touchscreen interface. It will launch on the AT&T network in May 2016, providing unlimited talk, text, and data. The proposed retail price for Orbi 2 is $149.99, and AT&T will charge $9.99 per month for service with no commitment.
Orbi 1 and 2 look like highly effective ways to keep our children and elderly loved ones safe and secure. My own children are at an age where smartphones are acceptable for them, but these are devices I would have certainly loved to buy for them when they were younger. Check out the video below for more information, or click here if it fails to load. You can also get updates from Orbi’s Indiegogo campaign page.