StickNFind May Be the Start of Your Programmable House

Mari Silbey —  January 18, 2013

StickNFind bluetooth stickers

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.

StickNFind mobile radar app for bluetooth stickersAs 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.

4 responses to StickNFind May Be the Start of Your Programmable House

  1. I’m a backer, just for the key finding feature. Suspect all that programmable actions on your phone stuff won’t work on iPhone anyway, given Apple’s usual limitations. But the wife loses her keys all the time. So we’ll see. Seems like it MIGHT be small enough and you MIGHT not have to worry about charging the thing AND AND AND… as I said, we’ll see, but I kinda like supporting stuff like this just to see how it works out. First non-Kickstarter crowd-funded project for me too.

    Honestly, $50 for two of these is way too much, but of course in volume they should be a lot cheaper, at least in the long run. Have to see what happens.

  2. You’re right on the iPhone front. They’re working on task launcher for Android for now.

    As for the key-finder application, I do love the concept. But I also also still worry about range and line-of-sight issues. I’m going to try to get a review unit to try out. If it proves useful, I’m happy to shell out the cash to buy my own.

    Meanwhile, I see this as the start of a much bigger push to get everything connected. The smaller and more effective these sensors get, the more we’ll start to develop our own networks of things.

  3. I see they have another device called “MeterPlug”. “…MeterPlug plugs in between any appliance and the AC outlet. It measures its consumption & sends that information to your Smartphone. It can also disconnect it….”
    I think I might try out both of these devices. But I am more interested in MeterPlug than Stick-n-find.

  4. Looks like there are a bunch of entrants in this space, so we’ll see how it all shakes out. Apple has already started selling the hipKey device, which is $89.95 for one vs. $25.00 for the StickNFind. Also it appears to be quite a bit bigger (big negative as far as I’m concerned, though the wife’s keyring is a bit crazy already), and only claims 2-4 weeks of battery life which makes it a non-starter to me. Anything like this that requires you to charger it infrequently… seems like a problem. With the StickNFind they’re claiming a year of battery life before you swap in a new watch battery from the drug store. Will it actually last that long? It better be close… I’m not swapping those things every month.

    Tumi has one for even more than seems crazy big and has a speakerphone in it. That one of course goes for like $150 or thereabouts, but hey its a Tumi. I’m sure the texture on the sides is really nice…