Button TrackR adds crowd sourced tracking to search for lost objects
Anyone with a propensity to misplace keys knows how irritating it is to look for them when you are running late. But help is at hand for those people with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone that can connect to tracking devices such as Button TrackR, a coin-shaped little number currently fundraising on Indiegogo. One of the innovations that Button TrackR introduces to this growing market niche is crowd sourced tracking that helps extend the search party.
Similar to the coin-shaped StickNFind, Button TrackR, developed by Santa Barbara, California-based tech start-up Phone Halo, can be attached to any object, as well as people and pets that you want to keep track of. It uses low-power Bluetooth and covers a range of around 100 feet (30 m). The accompanying app can simultaneously track up to ten Button TrackR units so the user can keep track of their most cherished things as well as the loved ones.
To extend the potential search range, the Button TrackR broadcasts this unique ID that can be detected by other users running the Button TrackR app on their phone when they come within range the device. This information is then sent in a message to the cloud server containing the GPS coordinates and passed on to the person who lost the item.
“Many devices just record the last known GPS coordinates. Button TrackR broadcasts a unique ID so that users can get updates of where their stuff is,” Chris Herbert, Phone Halo CEO, tells Gizmag. “This opens up new applications such as using as a lojack for bikes, luggage tracking, and more."
Other features includes a reminder alert for those objects we want to take out with us, a hot/cold distance indicator and the possibility of either sticking the Button TrackR to the object (such as the lid of a laptop) or attaching it to a keyring.
The free app can work with several devices, including iPhone 4s and 5, iPad 3 and 4, iPad Mini, Android Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Android 4.3 devices.
Those interested in funding the project on IndieGogo can chip in US$25 for one Button TrackR, $40 for two, and $90 for five. At the time of writing, the funding goal of $15,000 had well and truly been reached with over $285,000 raised.
The video pitch below shows the Button TrackR at work.
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Does not indicate the kind of power source involved. In any case would it not have to be switched on all the time to be found ?? Try finding run down handset of your cordless phone !
I just cannot imagine the potential for the missing people problem, lost luggage at the airports, lost stuff in hotels, you name it... Your stolen car will be easily found and thieves will have to invent I-DONT-KNOW-WHAT-IN-HELL kind of technology for not getting caught. All the people using WAZE will have eventually this device in their cars. Bye Bye lojack SO-DAMN-EXPENSIVE services. This is a very disruptive mix of concepts.
Congratulations to the creators! My most humble congrats. I am officially impressed.
How many people are going to be RUNNING the Button TrackR software on their smartphones all the time? And if they aren't, how are they going to detect one?
Crowdsourcing only works if the crowd is actually looking. You can achieve almost the same thing with printed signs on telephone poles.
It's an interesting option, and I tried to back it ... but the creators seem to have chosen to not accept PayPal, so they're not getting my money.
(Also, at least on a Mac / Safari, their payment page disallows a credit card number from being *pasted* in ... I can type it, and I can paste it in other fields, but *not* in the CCN field ... weird!)
(And, Indiegogo's software is refusing to let me contact the creators, even though one is *supposed* to be able to submit private comments without paying :)