StickNFind Technology Coming to a Set of Keys Near You

The secret to one-world government, as all good paranoids know, is to implant radio-frequency tracking/control chips in all humans’ necks. Have you ever taken off your tin-foil hat to ask yourself why the shadow rulers get to have all the fun?

Well, soon, they won’t have that particular monopoly. A Florida-based electronics-invention firm called SSI America is soliciting investment money online to build small, flat, black plastic disks that can be tracked up to 100 feet away by your Android and Apple iOS devices. Jimmy Buchheim, owner of SSI America, said he’s raised almost four times as much money for development of the StickNFind as he had originally thought possible.

Still a prototype, the StickNFind is roughly the circumference of a quarter and several times thicker, and sticks to almost any object with a strong adhesive. Paired with a handheld device via a Bluetooth low-energy link, you can use a StickNFind to locate whatever it’s stuck to – wireless remotes, wallets, cash-stuffed briefcases, a wallet, and so on.

Current plans call for the StickNFind, powered by a single, replaceable CR2016 watch batteries, to debut in March 2013 with some small plates for the disks that you can attach to a keychain, a pet collar, a jacket zipper or other like objects. The accompanying app gives your smartphone a triangular radar-like screen that will show you – roughly – how close you are to up to 20 StickNFinds at once that you’ve paired to your phone

The view does not indicate in which direction to look, however. As any adult who’s played hot-and-cold with a child on a rainy day can tell you, that’s going to get old. On the other hand, it’s impossible to see the app’s screen graphic and not think of the hacked-together monster-finder used in the movie Alien, which almost makes up for the lack of directionals.

There’s also a “leash” function. Whenever a disk moves beyond a distance you’ve selected, you get an alarm, making it harder for you to leave your home/the office/a bar without your tagged purse, offspring or computer bag.

This is all attractive, but perhaps the most novel and useful feature of the StickNFind plays on the two-way communication that Bluetooth provides. The little disks can change settings on your paired phone; the StickNFind will mute your ringer when you walk into a meeting room, for example.

Other than the small size of the StickNFind and use of Bluetooth low-energy technology, this isn’t entirely new ground– it’s simply never been as comprehensive as what StickNFind offers. There have long been apps to track your smartphone and those of the people who  allow you to track their devices.

And there is the Wallet Trackr, which is a much larger, oblong sliver of plastic that also acts as a leash. It sets your iOS (only) device to vibrating and beeping when you move beyond a pre-set distance from the object in which it resides.

But there’s nothing with the StickNFind’s set of features out there yet.

Pricing for the StickNFind is still pretty vague. However, SSI America’s Buchheim is raising money on the social-investment site Indiegogo.com, and offering fresh-off-the-production-line disks as perks for various levels of contributions. This might offer insight into how much they will cost.

Give SSI America $35 within the next 20 days, and you get two StickNFinds (almost 2,000 investments at this level have been made). You get six of them for giving $90 (almost 1,200 investments at this level). And four hearty funders have given $1,400 each, netting them 100 StickNFinds apiece.

Buchheim began this Indiegogo fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $70,000 that he would use to take the StickNFind into production.

“I expected to raise $110,000, maybe $120,000,” he said. The day after Christmas, with another 20 days to go on the funding campaign, the StickNFind had garnered more than $422,000.

So dawns a new day in tracking. Maybe Big Brother will turn out to be your devious little brother.

Jim Nash

Jim Nash

Contributor at Tech Page One
Jim Nash is an award-winning business, tech and science journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Economist Group and Scientific American.
Jim Nash
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