Last year, Treehouse Labs unveiled BiKN Technology Platform, a 802.15.4 wireless sensor network that allows you to track objects fitted with Bikn tags within 60 m, and find your lost keys at home, your car in a parking lot, or track your pets location for example. A solution for the iPhone is available, and a kit with 2 tags and an iPhone case costs about $130. Since a case is required (for 802.15.4 support), this solution is unfortunately impractical for the variety of Android phones. Luckily, there’s now a new solution based on Bluetooth called StickNFind, by SSI America, which works both for Android 4.0 (and up) devices and iPhones.
The StickNFind tags are based on Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy), have a line-of-sight range of about 30meters, and are powered by a replaceable CR2016 (or CR2020?) watch battery which can last up to 1 year for 30 minutes daily average use. They also feature a buzzer and a light, so that they can easily be found in the dark. The tags are small: 4mm thick and 2.4 cm in diameter (about the size of a coin), and weight just 4.5 grams without battery.
The way it works is you attach the tag (via 3M VHB adhesivepresent on the tag) to any object you may lose or want to track (keys, suitcase, dogs, kids…), and launch an app on your Bluetooth 4.0 enabled smartphone to get an estimation of the range, and/or control your tag to make it buzz or light up. The solution has currently been tested with iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, new iPad, New Touch, mini iPad, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 2.
The Android/iOS application has 3 modes of operations:
- Radar – Display the “location” of devices in a radar screen. There is no way to know the direction, only the distance, so you’ll have to walk and see if you get closer or further. Your can tap on a sticker on the radar screen to make the tag buzz or flash the light.
- Virtual Leash – You can setup a range for a given tag, and if it goes further, your phone will alarm you. You can also configure a “reverse leash” to track your phone and make the tag buzz if you are too far.
- Find It – If a sticker is out of range, you can use the Find It mode to alert you once it’s detected again.
The developers are now also working on a new app “Stick-N-Find Task Launcher” that will change automatically your phone settings, launch applications, change ringtone… For example, when you enter a conference room, it could set your phone to silent mode automatically.
StickNFind currently needs funding for production, and the developers have started an Indiegogo campaign.
You can back the projects to get 2 ($35), 4 ($65), 6 ($90) or 10 ($150) or 20 ($290) stickers. You’ll need to add $15 for international shipping. Hardware and software for the sticker/tag are finalized, but the App development is in Beta phase. They’ll need some more testing on production sample, and FCC approval, and the tags should be available in March 2013.