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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear GTX Corp,

I was lucky enough to have been lent one of your GL 100 LOCi GPS tracking devices for a recent high school project. It worked tremendously and I want to describe the experience for you.

On May 22nd, 2010, a balloon containing probes and an HD video camera constructed by 12 students at The Bay School of San Francisco was launched from Carmel State River Beach, and traveled over 75,000 feet into the air before bursting and returning to earth some 80 minutes later. The balloon and its attached equipment traveled close to 80 miles east, landing on the edge of the central valley.

In order to observe the movements vertically and horizontally of the balloon, including locating its landing spot so that recovery could be achieved, the team of students used three separate methods to track the travel of the near space balloon. One of these methods was the use of a LOCi tracker. This device, only a couple inches in length, is a new design from GTX Corp (GTXO) using a multi-step process to track whatever it is attached to in real time. The first operation is to figure out its location by triangulation from satellites, using standard GPS technology. It then broadcasts its location in cellular wave format, using standard cell towers to get the information back to GTX's servers, where the location is stored for the end user to see via GTX's website.

Traveling up to 75,000 feet in the air, and surviving under the extreme conditions that prevail there is an extreme challenge for any electronic device, but the LOCi tracker preformed admirably, recording its location and sending out its location whenever it was possible to establish a connection to a cell tower. When the balloon had traveled to a certain height, it was impossible to reach down to the cell towers which were not designed for this purpose, so there is a temporary blank spot on the map when this occurred, however, after the balloon ascended to within range of a cell tower, it immediately began re-broadcasting.

The LOCi tracker worked remarkably well in finding its location and sending it back out so that from anywhere in the world, we could view its location via internet. The genius of the design is in the simplicity. There is very few ways for this to go wrong, and we did not experience any of it. Without accurate tracking on the balloon, we not only would not have known its height and travel pattern, but we also never would have found where it landed, which was necessary to recover the recorded video. The LOCi tracker never failed in this regard.

Here is a webpage including information about, and a video of, the flight of the near space balloon: http://ikaros.xrg.us/.

Robin
Age 16, Junior The Bay Schoo

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