Pet owners can hope to find their lost animals using a new collar beacon developed by scientists that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signals to locate them.

The GlobalPetFinder device is about the size of a large wristwatch and weighs 0.15 kg, reports

It clips discreetly on to a pet’s collar and reports GPS satellite signals back to the animal’s owner via a cellular phone network, it said.

Owners can find out the precise position of their pooch at any time, by sending a cellphone text message containing “F-O-U-N-D” to a special number, it said.

The transmitter also lets them create a virtual fence around their beloved pet and will automatically send alerts when the animal strays outside the invisible boundary. It can even be used to monitor a pet’s well being, by tracking the surrounding temperature.

It could, for example, warn them that a dog is overheating inside a hot car. The device also sends a warning message back to the owner when its batteries start to run low.

GPS receivers calculate their position using signals broadcast from several orbiting satellites, with a precise timestamp.

The GPS component inside GlobalPetFinder’s collar gadget uses an ultra-compact,
multidirectional antenna developed by British company Sarantel, which can pick up satellite signals regardless of the antenna’s position, unlike many existing GPS devices.

More here.