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findmycanopy

We are the inventors of the Get It Back, the GPS tracking device for your cut-away canopy. Ask us anything about our device!

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My name is Brendan Pope, and I'm here with my partner Taneva Baker to answer any questions you may have about the Get It Back GPS canopy tracking system. We've spent the last 18 months developing the Get It Back, and announced it to the world a couple weeks ago at Summerfest at Skydive Chicago.

The Get It Back is a GPS canopy tracking device specifically for tracking cut-away canopies. It installs onto the front riser of your rig, and activates automatically the instant you cut away. Once it activates, it broadcasts its position for between 2-8 hours, and you can track your canopy with our website or app on your phone.

We've gotten a ton of questions about our device over the last couple weeks, many of which we've put together in an FAQ on our website: http://findmycanopy.com/faq/

Have any questions about the device, installation or our service? Ask away, we'll answer the best we can!

-Brendan and Taneva

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How does the unit know if the cable is still in the unit or has been withdrawn (cutaway)?

How can we be sure that the cable can't get stuck?
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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Can the subscription be paid after a cut-away? What would prevent this way of reducing the cost?
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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How does the unit know if the cable is still in the unit or has been withdrawn (cutaway)?



Great question! Here's a cut-away of a battery pack:



There's a microswitch inside the battery pack that is held closed by the presence of the yellow activation lanyard. As soon as the lanyard is pulled out (which there's a tiny short clip of in our video), the switch can spring open. That switch opening is what closes the circuit and powers on the device.

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How can we be sure that the cable can't get stuck?



There's nothing for the lanyard to get stuck on; it's identical to your cut-away cord, and how it feeds up into your risers. We've also been working with two US Master Riggers on this design, one of whom (Jerry Baumchen) is a regular poster here. Jenny Verner (of RockSky Market) is our other Master Rigger, and has been with us through every stage of the design helping to ensure that the whole setup is bind-free and as safe as possible.

If a bind is something you are still worried about, we offer the option of attaching the lanyard to your rig with a c-clip similar to the one used on your RSL. This also adds an advantage for swoopers or people who move canopies between containers frequently, as it's easy to disconnect the device and then re-attach it to a different rig.

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What happens when US cell companies drop 3g service?



Our carrier is not going to be "sunsetting" 3G service for M2M devices until the mid 2020s, so that problem is quite a few years off. Once it does happen, we will have a similar device available that will work on the new networks and will offer very generous trade-ins to existing users who are upgrading devices.

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sundevil777

Can the subscription be paid after a cut-away? What would prevent this way of reducing the cost?



Unfortunately it cannot be paid after a cut-away.

If someone lets their subscription lapse, we disable the device's SIM card with our carrier. This is so we don't have to continue paying our carrier for a device that our customer isn't paying for. If someone has a cut-away with our device and their subscription isn't current, the cellular network will block the device from connecting or communicating.

Once someone does renew their subscription we can re-activate the SIM card in our systems right away, but it takes 24-48 hours for our carrier to get it registered through their network again.

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There's nothing for the lanyard to get stuck on



I hope you don't really mean that. If you do there is great reason to doubt your design.

I hope you mean that the various ways it could get stuck have been considered and you can explain how your design makes them extremely unlikely.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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$100 a year as a subscription seems high given the frequency of cutaways and the number of those cutaways which result in a lost canopy, and the actual amount of data which will be transmitted.

If you offered a model which worked with users existing SIM cards (albeit at a higher initial price point) I might be more interested.

I'm not sure it's a big enough problem for an average jumper to require a solution, unless you're regularly jumping in wooded terrain or have a much higher than expected frequency of cutaways.

I'd also be concerned that in those types of environment you wouldn't necessarily receive a 3G signal. What happens in the case of a canopy being cutaway and no signal being received - either due to signal loss or device failure? Do you reimburse all of the subscription paid, or replace the canopy?

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findmycanopy

***Can the subscription be paid after a cut-away? What would prevent this way of reducing the cost?



Unfortunately it cannot be paid after a cut-away.

If someone lets their subscription lapse, we disable the device's SIM card with our carrier. This is so we don't have to continue paying our carrier for a device that our customer isn't paying for. If someone has a cut-away with our device and their subscription isn't current, the cellular network will block the device from connecting or communicating.

Once someone does renew their subscription we can re-activate the SIM card in our systems right away, but it takes 24-48 hours for our carrier to get it registered through their network again.

It sounds to me like you're saying it actually can be paid after a cutaway, but it would be 1 or 2 days until it would be activated. So, a canopy would be out in the elements for that long. If you assume 10 min of exposure to the sun on a normal jump, it really isn't that many equivalent jumps worth of exposure (100 to 200 or so at the most).

Is there something else that prevents a person from being willing to wait for the activation to occur before being able to track down the canopy?
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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sundevil777

******Can the subscription be paid after a cut-away? What would prevent this way of reducing the cost?



Unfortunately it cannot be paid after a cut-away.

If someone lets their subscription lapse, we disable the device's SIM card with our carrier. This is so we don't have to continue paying our carrier for a device that our customer isn't paying for. If someone has a cut-away with our device and their subscription isn't current, the cellular network will block the device from connecting or communicating.

Once someone does renew their subscription we can re-activate the SIM card in our systems right away, but it takes 24-48 hours for our carrier to get it registered through their network again.

It sounds to me like you're saying it actually can be paid after a cutaway, but it would be 1 or 2 days until it would be activated. So, a canopy would be out in the elements for that long. If you assume 10 min of exposure to the sun on a normal jump, it really isn't that many equivalent jumps worth of exposure (100 to 200 or so at the most).

Is there something else that prevents a person from being willing to wait for the activation to occur before being able to track down the canopy?

I would venture to say that the battery would be dead by then.
Remster

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Instead of the battery switch why don't you make the device bigger, constantly on with a rechargeable battery, and people can charge it and put it on a Dbag inside a pocket.

I am preordered for an Ioata which has its own transmit frequency, but the cell network sounds way better.

I would rather not have something on the front riser, even if it is durable, flexible and lower profile!
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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I just have a bluetooth transmitter that I've been testing. Costs $30 USD and with a special antenna it has about 200 yd range.

Unfortunately I feel like this idea chose the wrong technology. If there were a way for a single SIM to be active on all canopies and there were a $10-$20 per year subscription and a $30-$50 up-front cost then yes it would be a go and there would be profit for the designers.

Hate poo pooing on someone's idea/design but the cost is simply too high.

-Michael

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I hope you mean that the various ways it could get stuck have been considered and you can explain how your design makes them extremely unlikely.



Fair enough. :) Allow me to re-phrase:

The lanyard is a plain straight cable, with no nub, ball, hook or snags on the part that feeds up into your riser; it's identical to your cut-away cable, both being the same material and how your cut-away cable feeds up into the hard housing on your riser.

We considered half a dozen different activation methods before settling on this one, as we (and our riggers) felt it was the simplest and safest, while making use of as many existing skydiving materials and methods as possible.

-Brendan

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findmycanopy

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I hope you mean that the various ways it could get stuck have been considered and you can explain how your design makes them extremely unlikely.



Fair enough. :) Allow me to re-phrase:

The lanyard is a plain straight cable, with no nub, ball, hook or snags on the part that feeds up into your riser; it's identical to your cut-away cable, both being the same material and how your cut-away cable feeds up into the hard housing on your riser.

We considered half a dozen different activation methods before settling on this one, as we (and our riggers) felt it was the simplest and safest, while making use of as many existing skydiving materials and methods as possible.

-Brendan




I can agree with your statement that it can't get stuck.
I actually built a prototype of a similar switch a few months ago.
I used a pen that I gutted and made a hole in it to feed in the switch through.
It wasn't pretty but it worked :-)
As long as the end of the switch is bent up (away form the cutaway cable) I'd say it's risk free.

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$100 a year as a subscription seems high given the frequency of cutaways and the number of those cutaways which result in a lost canopy, and the actual amount of data which will be transmitted.



It's actually cheaper than many GPS/Cellular tracking devices that have reasonably wide coverage areas, such as pet trackers, personal or vehicle trackers, but many of them don't work internationally. The Get It Back works in 130 countries, with no roaming fees or extra charges.

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If you offered a model which worked with users existing SIM cards (albeit at a higher initial price point) I might be more interested.



It was something we briefly considered, but for technical reasons it wouldn't be possible (at least, not at a price most skydivers could afford).

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I'm not sure it's a big enough problem for an average jumper to require a solution, unless you're regularly jumping in wooded terrain or have a much higher than expected frequency of cutaways.



While we understand that not everyone feels they need this device, enough do that we're confident we'll have enough demand to do our first production run. The number of people jumping expensive, aggressive canopies is very large and only getting larger (as the wait time on new Valkyries shows). Just in the first few days of Summerfest this year we had a numbers of canopies get cut and never found, one of which was a Valkyrie less than a month old. One of the Knights did find his, but only after he and his team mates spent three full days searching through the corn for it.

The largest interest (and number of pre-orders that aren't going to show up on our Indiegogo page) that we've had is actually from large Dropzone Owners, military organizations and professional skydivers, for whom it's a simple numbers game.

Tandem canopies have estimated cutaway rates of twice what sport jumps do; the dropzones that we consulted with while developing this average 10-15 tandem cutaways per year. A single lost tandem canopy can cost nearly $6,000 when you count the freebag, risers and drogue, and most dropzones we spoke with reported losing at least one tandem canopy every year. Not to mention the amount of time/money they spend searching for the cutaways (circling an Otter costs $14/minute in fuel alone).

And for videographers, coaches and organizers, if they have to spend a day not jumping because they're hunting through the corn or forest for their lost canopy, that's an entire day's worth of pay they're losing out on because they can't work.

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I'd also be concerned that in those types of environment you wouldn't necessarily receive a 3G signal.



No problem, because our device can roll back to 2G signals as well, which are very common in rural areas (and in many cases have better signal penetration). This is what makes up the majority of our device's cost; we are using a cellular module that can work on 2G and 3G, and work in the US, and in Europe, and in the rest of the world, AND is small enough to integrate onto a device less than 1" wide.

In addition, because of the way we're sending out the positional data (via SMS), the device can still work with an incredibly faint cellular signal, usually weak enough that your phone won't even show a single bar of service.

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Do you reimburse all of the subscription paid, or replace the canopy?



Due to the potential for abuse and fraud this is not something we are offering.

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Instead of the battery switch why don't you make the device bigger, constantly on with a rechargeable battery, and people can charge it and put it on a Dbag inside a pocket.



There's actually a lot of devices on the market that already do this (Check out the Tagg GPS pet tracker), and we've heard of a few tandem masters who own their own tandem rigs that have done exactly what you describe.

The problem is that the batteries never last very long; usually just a few days or a week at best. There's probably a few people out there who are obsessive enough to charge a device every couple days (like working skydivers, for whom jumping and their canopy is their livelyhood), but we felt a device that required that much constant attention from the user just for protection from an admittedly rare event wouldn't be something that most people would want to buy.

We feel the biggest advantage to our device is that once you install it, it's maintenance-free and you forget about it. Until you cut-away, that is. :)

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Hellis

***
Fair enough. :) Allow me to re-phrase:

The lanyard is a plain straight cable, with no nub, ball, hook or snags on the part that feeds up into your riser; it's identical to your cut-away cable, both being the same material and how your cut-away cable feeds up into the hard housing on your riser.

We considered half a dozen different activation methods before settling on this one, as we (and our riggers) felt it was the simplest and safest, while making use of as many existing skydiving materials and methods as possible.

-Brendan




I can agree with your statement that it can't get stuck.
I actually built a prototype of a similar switch a few months ago.
I used a pen that I gutted and made a hole in it to feed in the switch through.
It wasn't pretty but it worked :-)
As long as the end of the switch is bent up (away form the cutaway cable) I'd say it's risk free.

Hey, nice work there! :)

This is something a lot of people have had questions about, so I'm going to go grab my rig tomorrow and take more pictures of the activation/battery case. I'll post them here, and on the blog on our website and our Facebook page as well.

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So does this device have two lithium ion batteries? Have you accounted for the risk of fire that comes with this type of battery? These have been known to explode inside telephones and burn people. I'd hate to constantly carry around a fire hazard in my car or on me when I jump from a plane. I'm trying to format my question better. Maybe have you tested it long enough or let it sit in stalled in a rig like it could be for a year or more to see if the battery explodes or has any other type of malfunction to cause a fire? I know this may seem silly, but lithium ion batteries catching fire have brought down airliners. Other than that it looks cool. Going to show it to my brother who has an MS in EE and specializes in building batteries forTexas Instruments to see what he thinks. I would buy one in a heartbeat if you can prove it won't snag from real world testing. Or catch fire.

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Dopamine_Junkie

I'd hate to constantly carry around a fire hazard in my car or on me when I jump from a plane.



Before I get to your actual question, I have to ask: You're afraid of carrying a tiny battery around with you in your car, in which you're sitting on top of a tank of explosively flammable liquid that is hurtling down the road in extremely close proximity to other tanks of explosive liquid? I don't think the battery is the biggest risk there. :)

And if you don't want to be around them on a plane, you mean to tell me you've never jump with anyone wearing a Go-Pro? :)

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So does this device have two lithium ion batteries?



To answer your question: No, we are not using Lithium-Ion (or Lithium-Polymer) battery cells. The batteries we're using are similar to (and in some ways safer) than the batteries used in your AAD. They have been tested for consumer safety by both UL and CE, and on top of that we're encasing them in a housing more robust than most mobile phones or other consumer electronic devices.

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The largest interest (and number of pre-orders that aren't going to show up on our Indiegogo page) that we've had is actually from large Dropzone Owners



IMO, that's your market, right there (ans not so large ones once you get some traction with the big ones.).

Good luck! :)
Remster

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piisfish

how waterproof is the system ?



The device is reasonably waterproof enough to survive a dunk in the swoop pond. The battery case isn't waterproof and although there's no danger it in getting submerged, internal corrosion could stop the activation switch from working properly.

If it does get fully immerse, we recommend replacing the battery pack (they take 30 seconds to swap out, and will cost ~$20).

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