NEW YORK (CBS 2) — For many of us, GPS was a miracle, bringing the days of getting lost to an end.
But as CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported Wednesday night, GPS is going to new heights, tracking just about anything that moves – including you.
Police chases can put pedestrians and other motorists at risk. But now, the same GPS technology that helps you when you are lost can also help protect you from criminals on the run.
“It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going,” said Austin, Texas Police Officer Tom Howard.
Police can now track a vehicle without ever having to chase it. Instead of firing bullets, they launch a GPS tracking device.
Once attached, it allows officers to follow the car remotely.
“The ability to find and track things is useful in so many different ways,” said Lance Ulanoff, editor in chief of Mashable.
It is just one of several new exciting ways GPS is being used — from clothes and shoes to devices that could save lives.
“They’re incredibly accurate, powerful; they don’t take a lot of battery power and they’re putting them in everything,” Ulanoff said.
That “everything” includes golf balls. Developers have come up with a GPS-enabled microchip to inside so you’ll never lose a ball again.
Also out there are GPS shoes that track your every step, which even have a panic button so emergency services can find you quickly.
A British company is sewing tracking devices into school uniforms, and supermarkets are putting GPS devices on shopping carts to help customers navigate the aisles. And you can drop a little USB drive into a purse or pocket, retrieve it later, and find out exactly where the person has been.
And another little GPS locator can be used by teachers in the event of a school shooting tragedy.
“This device is not going to stop a Sandy Hook from happening, but the one thing it will do is when someone pushes the button we’ll be able to tell where they are in that building,” said Julie Thannum of the Carroll Independent School District in Texas.
Consumers CBS 2 spoke to said they are intrigued by the new devices, but cautious too.
“Some of the things I think are good – pets, certainly — but to have it on absolutely everything is a little bit intrusive,” one person said.
“I don’t want to be tracked all the time, so it makes me uncomfortable,” another said.
“Maybe the golf ball to help find it but not in your shoes, that’s a little too invasive,” a third said.
There are also several new GPS devices to help keep track of pets, should they ever get lost.
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