Find Your Stuff, Luggage via Bluetooth, Cellular

By Doug Mohney January 16, 2013

If you've ever had to scramble to find your car keys around your house or hunt down your luggage after an airplane trip, low-power Bluetooth solutions are arriving to ease your searches. Stick-N-Find and Trakdot showcased different approaches to the "Where is it?" problem at CES last week.

Based in Florida, SSI America has been developing Bluetooth devices for over 12 years for large companies. Rebranding itself as Stick-N-Find Technologies, the company is rolling a number of solutions around Bluetooth Low Energy. 

Its name-brand Stick-N-Find Stickers are barely bigger than a CR2016 coin cell battery, at 0.16 inches thick. A fresh battery will last for about a year with the device, which includes both a light and a buzzer to help people find devices in the dark. 

To find a sticker, you load up a free "Radar" app – IOS and Android both supported and if you remember the motion tracker from "Aliens," you know what the user interface looks like – to track and find stickers. Multiple stickers can be tracked at the same time, with users able to select a buzz, flashing lights or both from the radar screen. 

Additional modes include a "Virtual Leash" and "Find It." The Virtual Leash triggers an alarm if a sticker moves out a selected distance while the Find It feature will alert you when a sticker comes within range. 

Max range for the sticker is around 30 meters, and the company recommends you track no more than 20 devices.

Stick-N-Find is running an Indiegogo fundraising/pre-ordering campaign through January 21, 2013. A $35 "early bird" order will get you two Bluetooth stickers with an estimated March 2013 delivery, while a 100 sticker "office pack" is available for $1400. 

If you're looking for something with longer range and an outdoor GPS reach, the company's BlueTracker has a 2500 foot range using a customized implementation of Bluetooth, and a two-month rechargeable battery.

For the frequent flier, Trakdot's Luggage device provides a global solution to locating your luggage. The device combines Bluetooth, a GSM cellular modem, and a pair of AA batteries into an orange and black case a bit smaller than a wallet. You drop the device into your luggage and it provides either a text or e-mail message telling you what city your bag is in, with GSM providing "long distance" location and Bluetooth providing short-distance help within 30 feet of the device.

One of the geek-cool features of Trakdot is the use of a MEMS accelerometer to turn off the Bluetooth and GSM radios once the plane is moving more than 100 knots.  The radios get turned back on line once the plane lands.

Available in March 2013, the Trakdot Luggage device has a suggested list price of $49.99. There's an $8.99 one-time activation fee and an annual $12.99 service fee for providing the data services via GSM; small data packets are cheap, but not free.

Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Editor

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