Toddler-tracking wearable notifies parents if child is separated from their caregiver

A happy child on a bicycle with the Littlebird CareTracker on their arm

The Littlebird CareTracker employs Nordic’s nRF9160 SiP and nRF52840 SoC wireless connectivity to locate lost children and provide wellness updates

U.S.-based Littlebird has released a toddler-tracking device that can provide parents with peace-of-mind when they leave their young children with caregivers. The ‘Littlebird CareTracker’ wrist-worn wearable also includes physiological sensors to monitor the child’s heart rate, activity, and sleep to provide regular wellbeing updates to both parents and caregivers.

Bluetooth LE wireless ‘tether’

The device is easily attached to a child’s wrist and is connected to the ‘Littlebird’ iOS or Android app on both the parent’s and designated caregiver’s smartphone. The Littlebird CareTracker employs Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® LE SoC to act as a wireless ‘tether’ between the child and the caregiver. In the event the child or caregiver moves out of sight or earshot of one another and the Bluetooth LE connection is lost, the device will automatically send an alert to the parent and caregiver’s smartphone using Nordic-powered LTE-M wireless connectivity. The alert also includes the last known location of the child based on GNSS coordinates.

“When I developed the Littlebird CareTracker I wanted to empower parents and caregivers through care transparency,” says Monica Plath, CEO and Founder of Littlebird. “Having two toddler boys who run off from time to time, I also needed to know who was with my child when I was apart from them.”

In addition to the nRF52840 SoC, the Littlebird CareTracker integrates Nordic’s nRF9160 low power SiP with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GNSS to provide cellular IoT wireless connectivity between the wearable and smartphone app via the Cloud. The nRF9160 SiP combines LTE-M cellular network location data with GNSS trilateration for precise position monitoring of the device and child. The nRF9160’s assisted and predictive GNSS also saves power by speeding up time-to-first-fix (TTFF) on the satellites.

The device is currently the smallest GNSS, Bluetooth LE, IoT device on the market and to make this possible we chose the highly-integrated nRF9160 SiP
Monica Plath, Littlebird

Toddler activity tracking

In addition to the location data, the Littlebird app can also provide status updates throughout the day—for example if the child is sleeping or active—based on data acquired from the device’s sensors. The computational power required to run these sensors comes from the nRF9160’s powerful 64 MHz Arm® Cortex®-M33 processor, with generous 1 MB Flash and 256 KB RAM. The low power consumption of the nRF9160 SiP—which supports both PSM and eDRX power saving modes, allowing the device to sleep for long periods of time and yet wake-up rapidly—enables the device to achieve up to 24 hours of wear time between recharge, depending on the specific use case.

“The Littlebird CareTracker device’s sensors are used to establish baselines for your individual child, and how they relate to their peers,” says Plath. “It aims to connect the physiological data of fitness and wellness devices with our proprietary care platform, helping you stay present even when you’re away from your child.

“Because of the size of our target audience we needed to create a product that was incredibly small and lightweight, without sacrificing power,” says Plath. “The device is currently the smallest GNSS, Bluetooth LE, IoT device on the market and to make this possible we chose the highly-integrated nRF9160 SiP.

“The Nordic SDK and test boards were also extremely beneficial to us. Nordic's sterling reputation, incredible depth and breadth of technical information, and outstanding assistance were all huge factors in our decision to work with Nordic."

“We are so grateful for the shared resources—such as the Nordic DevZone—that have aided in progress and innovation.”