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GPS gizmo tracks your car, kids, sanity

Zoombak is unveiling its Universal GPS Locator this week at RetailVision 2008 in Orlando, Fla.

Ever returned to the spot where you think you parked, only to find your car missing and file a police report before discovering you actually left your wheels just a block to the south? (I'm not speaking from experience, of course. I have only heard of such tales.)

Zoombak Universal Locator

Anyway, Zoombak's Universal GPS Locator could be a welcome savior to those forced to endlessly troll confusing urban streets in search of parking.

Zoombak's gadget is just the latest gizmo of its kind that lets you geolocate your dog, your car, your kids, or your kids in your car. The company is debuting the $199 device this week at RetailVision 2008, an event for consumer retailers in Orlando, Fla.

Zoombak is pitching the GPS gadget as a universal locator because of its versatility: you can install it in a vehicle permanently or tote it around (it's 2.5 ounces and can easily fit into a backpack, briefcase, or bag). Once it's activated, you keep up with your car, boat, motorcycle, or other object of concern by requesting a tracking text alert on your mobile phone or an e-mail on your computer. You can also follow your vehicle in real time on or call a 24-7 toll-free phone number for live customer care.

Those who live in neighborhoods prone to car theft or have kids prone to reckless driving and curfew breaking can also create customized safety zones. Prompt alerts let you know as soon as the car has ventured out of the designated area and gone where it's not supposed to go.