Where is my wallet? Where are my keys? It seems that the things that you need every time you leave the house are the exact same things that are most likely to go astray and find themselves tucked under the couch or round the back of the television. At least when you lose your mobile phone you can call it and simply follow the sound of your ring tone—wouldn’t it be great if you could do the same for everything that you misplace? That’s exactly what you can do with the TrackR bravo, a new product developed in collaboration with the UC Santa Barbara Technology Management Program.
The TrackR bravo is an item tracker that can be affixed to just about anything that you can imagine, and make sure that whatever it is doesn’t get lost. It’s a simple matter of affixing the TrackR onto what it is that you want to keep track of, and from that point on you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be able to find it no matter where it ends up. Simply use the accompanying smartphone app to either ‘ring’ your lost item and cause the TrackR to emit a sound so that you can find it more easily, or use the distance indicator radar for things that have been misplaced further afield. It even works the other way round—if you’re carrying around an item that has a TrackR attached to it and you leave the smartphone that it’s paired with behind, the TrackR will alert you once it gets too far away from your phone.
The product comes from a bit of personal experience straight from the life of company founder Chris Herbert. While enjoying a day at the beach, Chris misplaced his car keys and way moments away from losing his vehicle to the depths of the Pacific Ocean as the tide came in. That sparked the idea for a small, lightweight device that could attach to anything from your car keys to your mountain bike, and make sure that it would go walkabout and leave you in the lurch.
Of course, in the time between Chris’ eureka moment and the impending commercial release of the device, there’s been plenty of revisions and refinements made to the product. There are lots of devices that perform a similar function to the TrackR bravo, but there’s a couple of key advantages that keep the TrackR a nose ahead—it’s status as the thinnest tracking device on the market being one rather important one. If this is something that you’re going to keep on your key fob or attached to an item at all times (which is necessary, unless you know ahead of time when you plan to lose it) then you don’t want the physical design of the tracker to prove to be an obstacle to your day to day life. The TrackR bravo really is very light indeed, and as such you won’t have any second thoughts about keeping it clipped on to an item to keep it within your grasp.
The other major advantage that the TrackR has over its competitors is the crowd GPS network that allows it to track your items so well. In the eventuality that you do lose whatever item it is that you are tracking, the entire network of TrackR users will be on hand to help you locate it. Any TrackR that passes by your lost item will detect that another TrackR is in range, and update the central system with your item’s current location. It’s a rather ingenious system that plays to the strengths of a body of mobile users, as well as a great way of encouraging the growth of a community around the service.
It’s a very clever device through and through, but there’s also been ample time spent to make sure that the look and feel of the TrackR bravo is on point. The anodized metal finish on the tracker is very modern, and will look sleek and stylish whether its hanging off your key ring or attached onto your laptop. There’s even the option to have a message engraved onto the device, for instance your phone number in case it should be found before you have chance to use the GPS service to find it for yourself. The TrackR web site even makes the suggestion that you might use this engraving process to put your pets name on the device and use it as a name tag for your cat or dog. This would allow you to track your pet should they go missing without a potentially invasive chipping procedure. The TrackR brave really can look after anything that you want it to keep an eye on.
There are several devices like the TrackR bravo, but few can offer the flexibility that a product this small and lightweight can. It’s dimensions allow you to use it in a huge range of situations, and that’s ideal for a device like this. That’s paired with innovative usage of a crowd GPS system alongside more traditional means of keeping an eye on where your device is, that makes this one of the most fully-featured examples of an item tracking device that you’re liable to find anywhere. It’s a testament to how dedicated the team behind the TrackR bravo is to encouraging the growth of a network of users around the device that they’re even offering $200,000 USD worth of original model TrackR devices to make sure that their crowd GPS system is as well populated as possible. The TrackR bravo is currently running a crowdfunding campaign, so anyone wanting to get in on the ground floor with the next generation of this promising device will be able to do so for a significantly reduced price when compared to its eventual retail release. Your TrackR bravo will only cost you $29 USD for the next two weeks, so if you act now you’ll be able to have the latest in item tracking for quite the bargain price. The product comes with an attachment loop and a self-adhesive sticker and is expected to ship to backers in early 2015.