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Parcel Sensor Knows When Your Delivery Has Been Dropped 145

First time accepted submitter Hamsterdan writes "If you're tired of finding that your stuff has been smashed during shipping after opening your package, this device is for you. 'Called DropTag, the gadget combines a battery, a low-energy Bluetooth transmitter, an accelerometer and a memory chip. Stuck on a parcel as it leaves an e-commerce warehouse, it logs any g-forces above a set risky shock level that it experiences. The idea is that when the courier puts it in your hands, you turn on Bluetooth on a smartphone running a DropTag app and scan it before you sign for it.'"
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Parcel Sensor Knows When Your Delivery Has Been Dropped

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  • Sooo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Reverand Dave ( 1959652 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:54PM (#42827013)
    Many of the things I have ordered lately have been so grossly over packaged that you could nearly smash the entire package before actually hurting the contents (I'm looking at you Amazon). I can see how this would be really useful for ordering overly fragile things, but if it costs more than shipping insurance is it really going to be worth it?
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:12PM (#42827207) Journal

    By including it inside the product packaging (or building it into the product itself B-) ), a manufacturer can record, not just shipping shocks in the last hop, but all shocks from the time the device was packaged at the factory. He can defend himself (and the customer) against failures (and warranty repair costs) generated by mishandling by a wholesaler, retailer, or what-have-you, not just the final shipper.

    The device would report significant events with time stamps, so the final shipper wouldn't get blamed for mishandling further up the chain.

    With integrated accelerometers and the like, the silicon-with-MEMS product would be a rather tiny chip attached to a battery - which (with modern battery tech) could power it for the shelf life of the product's design. Given Moore's law the prices for the electronic versions might come out lower than those of the mechanical version.

    Main downside might be that the battery might make the device unsuited for air freight. B-)

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:47PM (#42827491) Journal

    But I suspect that it would not ameliorate the problem since damage and returns are built into the cost of doing business and the shippers have no incentive to correct the problem any moer than they have..

    The problem is that the guys loading the trucks can only go so fast.
    BUT, since time is money, the shippers run the sorting machines at highspeed, and the loaders are forced to treat your package like a football in order to meet their quotas and keep boxes from piling up.

    So it isn't that the damages and returns are built into the cost of doing business, it's that (for the shipper) the damages and returns cost less than the profits from destroying every N-th package.

  • by decora ( 1710862 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:17PM (#42828143) Journal

    if you ever have a job where you have to sling around heavy rectangular objects all day, you will eventually realize that 'over packaging' is really the solution to most of the problems in the cycle.

    it helps machines that auto-sort work faster and better

    it helps people who handle stuff work faster

    it helps the seller

    it helps the buyer

    if the industry had to 'coddle' every package it would slow down the entire line - from the machinery based roller setups to the people packing stuff in trucks to the people leaving stuff at your door.

    it would almost make more sense for a shipping company to auto-matically 'repack' flimsily packaged items with the identical address and only ship them after doing so, just to avoid the hassle of people who dont understand how the system works.

  • by Spamalope ( 91802 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:34PM (#42828255)

    I thought UPS stood for United Package Smashers.

    I know they offer throw it at the ground shipping. We shipped about a dozen computers and at least half literally had the metal case warped. One had a fork lift tine driven through the box. One of our branch employees saw the UPS delivery driver throwing packages out of the truck onto the concrete. In all cases (include the fork-lift smashed one) UPS denied insurance claims because we didn't pack it well enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @11:39PM (#42828675)

    No, the problem is companies like UPS will hire any scumbag off of the street. I had a friend who was a package handler for UPS in Oakland he told me about all of the ex-cons, druggies and thugs they had tossing packages around. He said that if the package had "Fragile" or "Handle with Care" printed on it, they would purposely damage it. They hire people who don't give a fuck about their own lives, let alone a job. No labels or shock sensors are going to stop them from destroying your packages.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas