I want to track my stuff

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Life Chris
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I want to track my stuff

Postby Life Chris » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:19 pm UTC

Hey guys,
I was wondering if anyone had any innovative solutions on how to get some affordable form of tracking system. So some background... I go to an academy where everyone wears the same uniform, and as such, most of our items are indistinguishable. In short, I'm tired of my stuff getting stolen. The gyst is that I want to find some sort of small hard to detect way of tracking my items. The first idea that came to mind was RFID and GPS... the problem with those is that RFID seems a bit too expensive if i'm going to be tracking my stuff for any long distance (active RFID is painfully expensive and passive doesn't seem like it will cut it). A gps chip could also be nice, but I'm worried again about the cost here. So... suggestions?

Moose Hole
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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby Moose Hole » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:11 pm UTC

Use a sharpie and write your name inside all of your stuff.

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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby hintss » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:15 am UTC

doesn't this one company make an iPod (iPod classic) sized GPS tracker that costs about $100 and a $9.99 monthly fee?

Moose Hole
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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby Moose Hole » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:16 pm UTC

That cost seems prohibitive if he's trying to track individual items of clothing, which are probably less than $100 each.

Here are a few other options:
1) Add a small bomb encased in dye. Make a button that must be pressed at least once per day, and if it isn't pressed, the dye is released. The dye can also be released when someone tampers with it.
2) Put big stains or rips on the uniform so that nobody wants it.
3) Don't go to that academy.
4) Get a chest for the end of your bed and put a padlock on it.

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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby Solt » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:48 am UTC

Honestly? If you can solve this problem you will be a millionaire many times over.

RFID is probably your best bet. You could set up a network of active scanners at key points like doors and hallways so you would know when your property passes those points? Couple it with video camera footage and you can track down any thief.
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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby Pinky's Brain » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:09 pm UTC

It's going to take a decent size lithium button cell to keep something like this operating for long, and even then range would be in 10s of meters at best, don't think you'd get something small enough to easily hide in clothing.

EDIT : Actually on second thought, you could just make something which send out a really powerful ping at fixed times of day to get good range... without it needing to receive radio information and a very low average power use this should be able to operate quite long while still being small. Not a trivial project to make this yourself.

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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby squareroot » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:00 am UTC

If this is going in clothing, there are some interesting things you could try for a strong signal - remember that it doesn't need to be one tiny cube you hide in a pocket; rather, you could have one wire wrap around the waist (if it were pants, for example - this would be well hidden by any reasonable length shirt) several times. You might be able to get a pretty powerful antenna going - of course, this would require more power too (right?), and it would probably be awfully annoying to try to get this hooked up to an RFID tag.
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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby Hemmers » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:19 pm UTC

Um. I assume the century old name-tag wouldn't suffice. A few dollars for 70 tags?

If you're worried about someone cutting it out, you could always sew them in under the shoulder or somewhere they're not immediately obvious (like the collar, which is the first place everyone checks), or double up with both labels and sharpie.
Or yeah, can you not put a lock on your trunk/cupboard or something?

Setting up RFID scanners in doorways seems:
a. A lot of effort
b. Likely to be removed once said thieves work out what that little box is attached to the door-frame.
Any sort of GPS tracking system is going to get expensive multiplied over multiple garments, and passive RFID has the obvious limitations, although with a high-gain antenna I guess you can eek out some extra distance.

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Re: I want to track my stuff

Postby ImagingGeek » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:14 pm UTC

Buy itching powder, or if you really want to get them, a more powerful skin irritant. There are other options, things that'll turn skin purple or silver, but toxicity could be an issue so I wont mention specifics. Coat item(s) liberally, and leave in a place where things tend to disappear from. May not stop the theft, but it'd be damned funny.

If you know a "dirty" person, you may be able to replace chemical irritants with irritants of a more . . . shall we say Phthirus nature :D

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