Ever find yourself scouring the house for a lost set of keys just yearning for the sci-fi device that’d tell you where you left them? In yet another sign that the future is indeed here, there’s an app for that.
FindMyStuff uses any of a wide array of small Bluetooth beacons to tag and track your most important items. FindMyStuff also lets you know as soon as you’ve left something behind, or if you’re getting close while looking for it. Here’s a list of the beacons it’s compatible with:
•Red Bear B1
Say you’re walking out the door of the coffee shop, and suddenly your phone buzzes. On the screen is a message: “Wallet is gone!” Oops. Walking back to the couch you were sitting on, your phone buzzes again to tell you that your wallet is close. Looking under the cushions, sure enough, there it is.
That’s one use case scenario but there are plenty of others. It’s probably the easiest way to find your car in the parking lot. Basically, FindMyStuff detects when a beacon has gone beyond Bluetooth range, and also when it’s back within reach. At that point, it indicates how close you are to whatever the beacon is attached to. FindMyStuff also shows you the last place it was seen, via whichever mobile map service you prefer to use, so you can see whether you left your purse at your beaux’s place or at school. That can cut down on a lot of guesswork.
The app itself — which is only for iOS devices at the moment with an Android version on the way — is clean and easy to use, with simple settings to decide which items are set to which kinds of alerts and under what circumstances. If you leave your keys at your desk to go to the bathroom, it doesn’t make much sense to get a warning every time. You can set up a given item to trigger warnings when you walk away, when you approach it, or set up safe zones where FindMyStuff knows not to bother you when you leave your things there.
But what if you’ve put a beacon on your bike and it gets stolen? Or it’s on your dog’s collar and he/she runs away? Some companies are working with creating a distributed network out of their users’ beacons, such that if someone else walks by the bike or wallet after its vanished, its location gets updated to you instantly. As Bluetooth beacons continue to improve, so will the functionality of apps like FindMyStuff.
FindMyStuff is kind of like a preview of the “internet of things”, the network of connected objects that can communicate among one another and with their owners. Of course that’s not something most people think about on a daily basis, but plenty of us know the awful feeling of forgetting our wallet, and we don’t need to wait for the future to find a technological solution for that. FindMyStuff is already offering one, give it a spin and enjoy the feeling of not forgetting.