If a proposal advanced by Japanese researchers becomes reality, old people with a tendency to become confused could be equipped with small radio transmitters that will send out signals telling searchers where they are.

The system could prevent confused seniors from getting lost or accidentally straying into dangerous situations.The pocket transmitters will be set up to respond to tracking signals originating in one of a network of hospitals. The signals would be sent out every few minutes by satellite and would activate the devices carried by seniors, which will transmit a return signal indicating their location.

The satellite-tracking technology is similar to that used by researchers to track wildlife.

Use of the satellite signals to keep track of wandering seniors was proposed by scientists at the Tochigi Technology Center, a research institution near Tokyo.