Speaking of right out of the pages of science fiction, the Locate 1 device and service seems like something previously only seen on episodes of the A-Team or Knight Rider television shows. It's a small GPS-enabled transmitter (about the size of a deck of cards) that sends its signal to a website where you can easily track the current location and rate of travel of whatever you've attached it to. The ad copy in the latest Sharper Image catalog suggests that its easy to hide in a car, inside a kid's backpack, or in a briefcase full of hush money. (OK, I made up that last one. But you get the idea.)
Now at $500 for the transmitter plus a monthly fee that varies by how often you want the device polled (every five minutes or hourly) this isn't an inexpensive solution, but the fact that it exists at all for the consumer market is really quite remarkable. You can even set up email alerts for out-of-bounds conditions like speed or range of travel. This means you don't have to actively monitor the device at all, you can get a message on your cell phone as soon as your kid drives the family car too fast or too far away from home. Then log onto the web and see all the details, including a map of their location at the intervals you've selected. Or, for less dramatic use, if your loved one is going off on a solo weekend hike have them take this along and you can track their progress and know when to pick them up at the trail head. Welcome to the 21st century.