I wrote recently about the unpleasant topic of device theft and how to prevent/deal with it. As things turned out, another interesting solution appeared on the horizon almost immediately. A Singapore company called DRVE Holdings has come up with an innovative concept in the realm of physical security: "Don't Move." It's a tiny colored sensor (as shown in the image above, you can even choose the color you like best) which you can attach to items you want to protect. If the sensor is moved (by the object itself being moved, of course) the associated motion detector sends an alert to your smartphone via Bluetooth to let you know something is afoot.
A very cool video introducing the product covers the concept in greater detail (along with some stylish humor that makes it all the more entertaining). The possibilities of a gadget like this are numerous and creative. In the first place, of course it can be used for mundane purposes like protecting money from theft:
It can also come in handy to ensure nobody helps themselves to that afternoon snack you're keeping in the company fridge:
In my last article I described the theft of an iPad from my car. While stowing valuables out of sight and locking the doors is probably a more reliable solution, "Don't Move" could be invaluable to, say, a security guard trying to solve multiple thefts in that garage. Attach the sensor to a device in an unlocked car, hide around the corner, and the rest might very well make history, as they say.
Personally, I can think of a number of other uses such as putting the "Don't Move" sensor on the doorknob of one of my kids' rooms so I can tell if they're sleepwalking (yes, this happens from time to time and not just in Looney Tunes cartoons). It would also come in handy to guard things taken away for certain household infractions, such as our Xbox, various iPads and Halloween candy buckets stashed away for safekeeping (though conceivably my wife might use this on me to see who keeps eating all the Fritos). And call me a bad Dad, but I prefer to be the only one using the computer in my office at home so it doesn't get riddled up with games - at least, the ones I don't play - so I could use this on my mouse to make sure it remains untouched (yes, I have a password set but my kids love to try to guess it using their names and birthdates, as if an IT guy would be so predictable).
How to circumvent "Don't Move?" Interesting concept. It brings to mind that famous "Raiders of the Lost Ark" scene whereby Indiana Jones tries to swap the golden idol with a bag of sand then the temple falls down. Just like in the movie, even he wouldn't be able to defeat "Don't Move" - moving the sensor triggers the alert, period. The only way I can think of to prevent an alert from going out is to somehow destroy the sensor with a blunt object like a sledgehammer (which would probably destroy the object being protected as well) or encompass it in some sort of cloaking device to prevent the Bluetooth signal from being transmitted - a big tinfoil bowl for instance. Of course, this would mean a thief would have to know about the sensor in the first place, and it's small enough to be carefully hidden or camouflaged.
In the yogurt example above you could argue the refrigerator would block the signal from being transmitted... but the door would have to be open for you to retrieve the yogurt in the first place, providing an avenue for wireless signaling.
The "Don't Move" sensor can be linked to your smartphone via a name (e.g. "Frozen Soy Banana Yogurt" or "Jigsaw Puzzle") and your smartphone can handle multiple links as shown:
Sensors can be tweaked for sensitivity levels, or easily turned off. You can also look at how many times something was moved.
Let's take a look at the hardware specs as well:
If your smartphone is out of Bluetooth range when "Don't Move" sends an alert it will be stored instead on an internal flash drive then transmitted when your phone is back within range. This might rule it out as a home security device for use when traveling, but if you're creative and have multiple devices you could hook up a tablet at home, aim a webcam at it, then inspect the tablet screen remotely if you want to monitor the situation (I know it sounds a bit like a Rube Goldberg or Mousetrap-like contraption but really only involves a couple of extra devices).
"Don't Move" is available by an Indiegogo campaign which started on October 22 and closes on December 1. It costs $24 for the "early bird" unit (1 per person), $29 for a limited time (no quantity restrictions) and will be $39 when it retails (you can also pay $15K to meet Mike and Frank, the funny guys from the video - I can't afford that, but would be happy to buy them a beer for that entertaining video if they're ever in the Greater Boston area). So far, the concept has raised over $3800 and order delivery is expected to occur in January.
Simplicity is my mantra. Simplicity in design, purpose and functionality is what keeps technology fresh and invigorating. "Don't Move" is a concept that does one simple thing, but can have different applications for consumer, business, household, parenting, or even entertainment purposes (seems like it could play a role on April Fool's Day, a favorite "holiday" of many IT folks). I wish the product and its creators well and look forward to seeing how things turn out.
Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.