Can we make a Northstar-esque device with GPS tracking capabilities?

So I have been looking lately at ultra-small GPS crystals made by Rakon lately. For several years I have wanted an implant with GPS tracking capabilities (yes, the one thing we don't have yet that everyone is afraid of).

How easily could we add a GPS tracking chip to a device like the northstar? The chip would feed off the same battery and inductive charging. I could see one of the leds in the device turning on when the battery is running low, or turning green when the device is fully charged and the charger is present.

Integrating GPS capabilities into an implant would have several benefits. It would allow an automated home system to keep track of where you are and react accordingly (whether or not you remembered to take your phone with you). Another more futuristic use has to do with autonomous cars. 

If all cars on the road were autonomous, it makes sense that the transportation system should also keep track of the location of individuals. By tracking individuals and their movements, the system could take appropriate action of the part of the cars to keep people safe. Sure, no autonomous system can be 100% safe, but tracking all elements present could definitely help.


  • GPS takes a ton of power and the antenna would not receive much signal through skin.
  • edited March 2016
    With all negative connotations aside, I think this functionality is a natural step in the development of general purpose implants. (As long as the GPS had a hardwired on-off switch)

    I suppose that integrating such a device by itself wouldn't be that hard. They even sell GPS breakout boards for your tinkering pleasure. Infact, the one I linked to only draws 20mA of power! That's the equivalent to a small LED.

    However, I think the hardest part of such a system wouldn't be integrating the GPS, but rather, what you would do with the information you would receive. Let's assume for a second that this functionality would only kick in if you don't have your phone with you(If you did have your phone with you, it would just be easier use the GPS in the phone). You need some way to get that data out of your implant, and transmitted somewhere for processing. Like a futuristic transportation service

    Think of the GPS like a sensor, it can only output data on your location, it needs some other system in order to put that data to use. For example, wifi, cellular, or Bluetooth. However, this starts to enter into the realm of difficulty, but not impossibility.

    I believe that @GarethNelsonUK talked about some sort of implantable modem type device that could be useful in this context....

  • Cuold you use the body as an antenna for these longer range radio waves? Is the frequency right for that?
  • GPS is smaller waves, 1.6GHZ
  • you could do something like trackr and do it all with BLE and phone data
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