An industrial research center in Ehime Prefecture has developed a communication system in which people with cell phones will be able to detect the location of other cell phone users and designated global positioning system terminals.
GPS-equipped mobile phones that can only determine where the user is located already are on the market. However, this will be the first system in Japan that allows users to check other people’s locations and direction of movement.
The new system is expected to aid families, institutions and offices taking care of small children and elderly people who tend to wander, as well as help police chase suspects. Once users install map software on their computers and additional software on both their computers and cell phones, the system can locate GPS terminals and GPS-equipped mobile phones. The system may be sold for under 200,000 yen, researchers said.
To use the system, users connect to the Internet via a mobile phone and select the person they want to locate. The person’s location will be transmitted from the server computer to the mobile phone’s screen.
Information is updated every four seconds, so information seekers will be able to follow the movements of the person they are monitoring. In addition, users will be able to let others know where they are, which will be convenient in case of emergencies or to meet others, the center claims.
The business will limit service areas to insure profitability, center officials said. The center will promote the system to manufacturers in the prefecture.
Toshio Kikuchi, 36, the center’s chief researcher who was in charge of developing the system, said: “The system may be used for various other purposes, depending on manufacturers’ ideas. We’ll continue to work on lowering costs and speeding up the system by putting map data in cell phones.”