All this talk about an Internet of Things and I still can’t find my keys in the morning. This is the problem I hoped to solve when I visited the StickNFind booth at CES last week. (An eon ago, but we’re still catching up on coverage) Funded by an IndieGoGo campaign (like Kickstarter), the StickNFind product is a small Bluetooth sticker combined with a mobile app for homing in on objects wherever they go. It’s due to ship commercially in March, and it comes with a reasonable price tag of $50 for two stickers.
There are a lot of things to like about StickNFind. The sticker format makes these tracking devices very flexible. They stick on almost anything, and you can track up to 20 objects (or pets, or kids…) at once. There’s also a nifty “virtual leash” feature that lets you know when a sticker is moving out of range. Unfortunately, StickNFind is also at the mercy of Bluetooth’s limitations. The tracking function only works up to 100 feet, and it requires line of sight.
As a key-finder, I’m still not sure StickNFind is an ideal solution. However, the company is also working on a “task launcher” feature for the technology that has some very interesting implications. The task launcher will not only track an object, it will prompt an automatic action on your phone based on a triggering movement. For example, when you walk into a room, you could set the system to turn your phone to silent, or start playing music, or launch the Facebook app. This strikes me as a fundamental component in creating a programmable home. It’s a way to get your environment to change automatically depending on how you move through it.
It’s also worth noting that StickNFind holds tremendous potential for industrial settings. The company’s VP of marketing Jeremy Briggs told me they’ve had a lot of interest from hospitals and warehouses, which could use StickNFind for inventory tracking. The little stickers can be set to light up and/or buzz, which is a nice complementary feature to the radar-like interface on your phone. In a dark closet or large storage space, an indicator light or sound could be extremely useful.
Finally, StickNFind is also working on another product called BluTracker, which will include GPS capabilities. The company says it’s already in the manufacturing stages for BluTracker, and the product will be able to track objects at a much further distance. BluTracker will retail for $85.95, and will have a range of more than half a mile.