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OPLIN 4Cast #746: Locating things better

Posted in 4cast

Until I developed the obsessive habit, immediately upon entering the house, of depositing my wallet and keys on a shelf near the light switch, I was always hunting for them. Other OPLIN staff tell me they or their spouses cannot function without their Tile trackers. Using augmented reality to help us locate things is something we wrote about more than 10 years ago, but thanks to ultra-wideband (a technology that many people had written off as obsolete) finding our stuff is about to become a lot more accurate.

  • Tile’s next-gen tracker could use ultra-wideband tech [Engadget] “UWB is a relatively new short-range wireless communication protocol that has a handful of advantages over the ubiquitous Bluetooth. Its high-frequency waves can transmit spatial and directional data, making it more accurate at estimating the location of something.”
  • Samsung’s new SmartTag Plus uses augmented reality to help you find your keys [CNET] “The SmartTag Plus uses Bluetooth and ultra wideband technology to locate items the tag is connected to. Then, with augmented reality technology using phone cameras, the SmartThings Find service on Galaxy devices will visually guide users to their lost items.”
  • Apple accidentally confirms the existence of an unreleased product, AirTags [TechCrunch] “AirTags are believed to be small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items — just like Tile. The difference is that Apple’s AirTags will benefit from deeper integration with iOS, including within its ‘Find My’ app. There, the tags will show up in a new ‘Items’ tab allowing you to keep track of items that tend to get lost or stolen — like your keys, wallet or even your bike.”
  • What is ultra-wideband and what does UWB do? [Pocket-lint] “The advantage that UWB offers over existing technologies is that it’s much better at ranging with greater accuracy, so two UWB devices would know where the other was with much greater precision than Bluetooth or GPS. Samsung describes UWB as a ‘continuously scanning radar that can precisely lock onto an object, discover its location and communicate with it.'”

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