Tile Lost and Found App Selfstarter Campaign Largest Ever
Tile is an “internet of things” startup with an intriguing idea- use Bluetooth and an iPhone app to track and find lost objects. The idea is so appealing, in fact, that the company has raised 2.6 million dollars via a Selfstarter crowdfunding campaign, which beats out previous champ Lockitron’s 2.2 million. It also beat Tile’s initial fundraising goal of $20,000 by about 130 times. The campaign was launched June 12th.
Each Tile is a thin, matchbook sized Bluetooth 4 Low Energy device that is aimed at keeping track of personal items, like a wallet, tablet computer, car keys, or bike. What sets it apart from competitors is Tile that instead of being restricted by Bluetooth’s characteristic connectivity range of 100 feet, Tile’s range goes beyond that by using the Bluetooth connection of neighboring iPhones running the Tile app to cast a wider search net.
Since the device uses Bluetooth 4.0, which current Android, Windows and Blackberry phones are not compatable with, only an IOS app is available. That means it works with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad Mini, iPad 3rd and 4th gen, and iPod Touch 5th gen.
As an example of how Tile works, let’s say you attach a Tile to your backpack and then lose it on the bus. You then mark the Tile as missing, since it is outside of your range, and Tile sends out a signal that puts other Tile app smartphones on the search for your missing backpack. All of it happens in the background, and means that if someone else running the Tile app comes within range of your lost object, the Tile app will securely identify your item and send you a notification of its location.
The person whose Tile app picked up your backpack’s location will never know that their phone just found your item. The Tiles are said to be always secure and not viewable on anyone else’s Tile app.
You can, however, share your Tiles with designated friends and family. And, once there are enough people using Tile in your local area, you can watch your personal Tiles move on the Tile app map from anywhere. If the success of the funding campaign is any indication, it won’t take long for the user community to build up.
Each Tile costs 25$ and contains a non-replaceable battery that lasts one year. When the year is up, you send the Tile back to the company to recycle and buy a new one if you want. Tile wants to start shipping the app and tracker device by Winter of 2013/2014.
Other cool features:
Each tile has a built-in tiny speaker so you can ring it up and then find it by ear if it’s nearby. That would work great for finding the remote, or your passport that you put in a special place in your closet so you wouldn’t forget and then forgot.
If your lost item is within 100 to 150 feet of you, the app lets you view how far away it is, sort of like the old blindmans bluff “warmer, warmer” thing.