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  1. 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).
  2. 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? :) 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. :)
  5. 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. 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). 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. 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. Due to the potential for abuse and fraud this is not something we are offering.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. 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.
  10. Actually, we are using SMS to send out the positional data. Partly for cost, but also because SMS rides on the baseband frequency of the cellular signal. This means it requires VASTLY less signal quality and electrical power to get a message out than if we were trying to use a UDP connection or something. Even in places where a phone shows barely one bar or even "No Service", we've found that our device can often still get out an SMS position update. Two separate issues here: one is the cellular module itself, and the other is the SIM card/rate plan/carrier agreement. I think if you try and scale your device up, you'll find there's a huge gap between "hobby project that works on pre-paid SIMs" and "Fully engineered device ready for mass production and worldwide use". Our first proof-of-concept was identical to what you describe, using an Arduino as a base: Regarding the cellular radio: While there's a plethora of tiny and cheap cellular modules that work fine in hobby or small regional products (uBlox has some great ones), if you start trying to scale them up to an international product you find limitations. They're usually region-specific; they work only in Europe or only in North America, not both. They're also usually 2G or 3G only; they won't do both. Regarding SIMS, pre-paid SIMs have a lot of limitations, aside from what will happen if you go to your carrier and ask to buy 5,000 of them (try it and see). They're usually carrier and region specific; they won't roam to other companies networks and they won't work overseas (or if they do they're very expensive). They also expire, many require that they be connected to the network at least once every 90 days, regardless of if any actual data/messages are sent or not. We've designed around these problems by using a Hex-band cellular module; it works on both the EU and North American frequencies, it works on on any 2G or 3G GSM network, and we've got roaming/carrier agreements in 130 countries that will allow this device to work internationally with no extra fees or roaming charges. This capability makes it more expensive; our cellular module alone costs a lot more than the price you quoted, and that's even with us getting large volume discounts. And that's before we factor in the power regulation circuitry, the microprocessors, GPS and cellular antennas. I'm the engineering half of the team who's created the Get It Back, so I'm more than happy to talk shop if you've got any more technical questions. :) -Brendan
  11. Hey Uer! I'm Brendan Pope, one of the inventors of the Get It Back. Oh man, don't we know it! We spent a solid three months just on battery selection and design. :) We are not using Li-Pos, partly for the reasons you mentioned but also because they've got very high self-discharge rates. AADs (at least the ones that I've examined) are using Lithium Thionyl-Chloride battery cells, which will ABSOLUTELY explode if you treat them wrong. And not only will they explode, but they release some incredibly toxic stuff when they do. They're actually Class 9 Hazmat for shipping, pretty nasty stuff. On the other hand, they're also used in a lot of medical devices, most notably pacemakers.
  12. Hey Hackish! I'm Brendan Pope, one of the inventors of the Get It Back. We are not using Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) battery cells, although Li-Pos are used in everyone's cell phone and go-pros/cameras without problems. The batteries we're using are similar to the ones found in your AAD. The battery cells themselves are encased in an sonically welded ABS housing which is unbelievably tough; any landing rough enough to possibly damage out battery case would be fatal many times over. Feel free to ask me any more questions you have about the device! You can also check out our FAQ at
  13. Hey chemist! I'm Brendan Pope, one of the inventors of the Get It Back. We're raising funds for production from a variety of difference sources, only one of which is Indiegogo. We're also working on some large bulk orders from franchise dropzones and military suppliers, and those won't show up on our Indiegogo page. As soon as our Indiegogo campaign ends, we will continue taking pre-orders on our website until we have the funds needed (although we won't be offering quite as steep discounts as we are on Indiegogo). If it turns out that we cannot raise the funds to go to production from all of our different sources, all of our Indiegogo backers will receive a refund minus 5% for the fees we lose. The final retail price will be $169, and $99/year for the subscription. However, it's a LOT cheaper than that if you back us on Indiegogo! :)
  14. Hey Jerry! Now that the cat's out of the bag, you're free to talk about it all you wish. :) We really appreciate all your help!