Electronics

The O lets you know when important items are about to be left behind

The O lets you know when impor...
If a user strays too far from an item tagged with The O, an alert is sent to a companion app running on a smartphone
If a user strays too far from an item tagged with The O, an alert is sent to a companion app running on a smartphone
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The O tracker can be sewn on fabrics
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The O tracker can be sewn on fabrics
The O is IPX6 waterproof
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The O is IPX6 waterproof
An iOS/Android companion app running on a Bluetooth-connected smartphone is used with The O tracker
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An iOS/Android companion app running on a Bluetooth-connected smartphone is used with The O tracker
A special chain accessory has been designed to go with keys, bags, and briefcases
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A special chain accessory has been designed to go with keys, bags, and briefcases
If a user strays too far from an item tagged with The O, an alert is sent to a companion app running on a smartphone
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If a user strays too far from an item tagged with The O, an alert is sent to a companion app running on a smartphone

Trackers such as Tile and Button TrackR that link up with smartphones through custom apps can help us keep tabs on cherished belongings. But what if a tracker could not only locate a lost item, but also warn us before the item gets left behind? This is the main premise of The O.

Rather than springing into action after an item has been lost or misplaced, an iOS/Android app running on a smartphone sounds off a warning when a user strays too far from anything tagged with The O tracker. If an alert is missed, the app retains the GPS location and time of the object's last known location.

The system also works as a personal assistant of sorts, using context-based information on the phone, such as the user’s calendar, reminders, weather etc, to predict the items that the user needs to take with them. If it is rainy, it reminds the user to take an umbrella. If it’s gym day, it reminds the user to carry their gear with them. And so on.

The O may also be moving beyond smartphones in the future, too. "We don't want to promise it yet, but it looks very likely that we will launch with great smart watch applications as well," The O's co-creator, Christian Zeiler, tells Gizmag.

The O uses a CR2032 coin cell battery and the team says it should last comfortably for 18 months for most users as the app can switch between different modes on the chip to reduce battery consumption. Zeiler says that a replacement and recycling program still needs to be defined.

Design is also a main focus point and The O team refers to the tracker as an accessory rather than a tool. The creators were inspired by river pebbles to give the accessory its shape. The waterproof casing is made with ABS plastic.

The O can be sewn onto fabrics such as umbrella covers and kit bags. The team optimized the depth, width and angles of the grooves on the surface so that threads can run through it. A special chain accessory has been designed to go with keys, bags, briefcases and other items. The chain is cast in brass and plated in gunmetal rhodium with a mirror finish. In addition to a Premium model, a 14-karat gold-plated luxury version and a light rubber flavor are available.

The O is currently fundraising on Kickstarter. A four pack of Light Os is available at a pledge level of £37 (US$59), four O trackers and a key chain in black are listed for £38 and a luxury edition comes in at £70. If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in February 2016.

Sources: The O, Kickstarter

3 comments
Bob Flint
After the 18 months batteries dead and you trinket is lost...
Fredfx
Obviously you haven't tried any of the other trackers, because that's how they ALL work. They're all "lost connection" devices. As soon as the phone loses contact with the tracker it notifies you on the smartphone with an alert and records the last GPS coordinates. The pre-emptive reminders is a nice feature. That is if your smartphone knows where you're going....
ljaques
Interesting idea. But how do they differentiate between items? What happens when 1,000 trackers get together at a football stadium? And what happens when tighter densities are present? Too bad they rely on CR2032. Lifetimes are short.