When most people think about tracking people or things, RFID and GPS probably come to mind first. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other technologies just waiting to be put to good use. The Wallet TrackR is a project that uses Bluetooth Low-Energy to maintain contact between a small device and a smartphone or tablet. From their website:
“The Wallet TrackR fits easily into any wallet – just like a credit card. When combined with the free Wallet TrackR iPhone app, it becomes a powerful new tool to keep you from losing your wallet. When the Wallet TrackR gets separated from your iPhone or iPad, the Wallet TrackR app gently alerts you that you may be leaving your wallet behind. The app also takes a GPS snapshot of where your wallet was at the moment of separation in case you didn’t hear the alert. Tap a button within the app to make your wallet “ring” in case your looking for it around the house or in the dark. The technology works both ways, which means your wallet can beep to alert you that you’re leaving your phone behind. Works with your iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, new iPad, iPad mini and the new iPod Touch.”
Just like low-power mesh RF networks (802.15.4 / Zigbee) have shown promise as a tool for tracking objects and collecting data, Bluetooth Low Energy may enable interesting security and product protection solutions. The range, of course, will be much shorter – but the popularity of Bluetooth in existing handheld platforms makes it an intriguing option to explore.
The Wallet TrackR is still seeking backers for its first production run. I signed up for one, and will update this post when it arrives…