It’s a well-known fact that dog and cat owners tend to be very apprehensive, and if you try Googling ‘GPS microchip for dogs’ you’ll get a myriad of results from people who are looking for the ultimate technology to locate the object of their affections and concern at all times. In reality, there is no such thing as a ‘GPS microchip for dogs’ – there are tracking devices and there are microchips that can be implanted under the skin of the dog or cat, but these are two completely different technologies that perform different functions.
The idea that anyone can be fitted with a microchip that acts as a GPS is highly futuristic but not yet feasible. Science fiction films and the wonders of technological progress have made us imagine it, but we have not yet reached this level of engineering. The microchips with which our four-legged animals are equipped must be small and are not capable of housing and powering a GPS module, but merely store essential information about the animal to which it is assigned. Like the chips in the health card or the new electronic identity card, the chip that can be implanted in our four-legged friends has a purely identification purpose and does not perform any ‘active’ function. It is passive NFC technology that stores a small amount of data that can then be activated and transmitted to a special reader.
GPS technology, on the other hand, is more complex and requires a number of functions from the device implementing it, such as an energy source (a battery), an antenna to connect to the GPS satellites, and a module to transmit the collected information via any protocol (Bluetooth, WiFi, cable, etc.). This is something that cannot be condensed into a microchip but that we can more easily find in GPS collars, which are certainly larger than an invisible microchip but which at the moment represent the best method of obtaining a secure and precise localisation of our four-legged companion without forgetting, at the same time, all the additional smart functions that have been developed over time.