Frisco Company Pioneers Tracking Technology for People Dementia, Autism

Wristwatch-like device can track wandering people through 911 grid

By Catherine Ross
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 6:58 PM CDT
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Frisco-based Emfinders has developed a device that is worn on the wrist to help triangulate a lost person's location.

Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter

Frisco-based Emfinders has developed a device that is worn on the wrist to help triangulate a lost person's location.

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A Frisco company has developed a way to help give peace of mind to people caring for people with dementia.

EmFinders makes EmSeeQ, a tracking product that can help find people who have wandered away from home. Its service works with 911 operators to track down missing people.

"That is a growing national health emergency -- the wandering, in addition to the Alzheimer's," said Patrice McAree, president of EmFinders.

McAree said the product has also found a niche market with parents of autistic children, many of whom also frequently wander away from home.

The technology uses the 911 grid. McAree said it works more precisely than GPS technology to pinpoint a missing person's location.

"We've found individuals 200 feet from their home," he said. "We've also found individuals 200 miles from home."

Paul Gornstein, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at age 56, helped test the prototype during EmSeeQ's development. Today, he wears the tracking device next to his wristwatch.

"Once I put it on, I just try and keep going through the rest of the day," said Gornstein, now 61.

His wife remembered the device after he disappeared during a 105-degree summer day. He left the house on foot without water or a cellphone.

When he walked through the front door after three hours, Karen Gornstein immediately took him to EmFinders to sign up for the service.

"There are no second chances," she said.

The development of EmSeeQ took years, but the company's service has only been up and running for about 18 months.

McAree said thousands of clients use EmFinders' services in all parts of the country at a cost similar to a monthly cellphone plan.

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