Click to viewA new mobile phone-based device called Block&Track, the result of several homebrew hacks by a young Kenyan inventor, acts as a quick and dirty car theft prevention gadget. The device sits in your car and sends a message to your cell phone when somebody starts the engine. At that point, you can send a command that will alert the police, shut down your engine, and activate a listening device that captures sound inside your car. Not only can you stop auto theft before it happens, but you can get your own private Cops show when you listen in as the cops bust the thieves.
The device was invented by eighteen-year-old Morris Mbetsa, who lives in Mombasa, Kenya, where auto theft is a tremendous problem. Mbetsa is a self-taught hardware hacker who presented his work at Barcamp Nairobi in June. Later, it was picked up in a television report (below). Mbetsa is currently looking for funding to mass produce his device and sell it. Once he adds AI to it, the Block&Track will be able to decide when you're doing something wrong in your own car, and quickly send surveillance tapes to the police which contain evidence of your crimes.
Image above via MAKE magazine.