Tile be there for you: the new lost and found gismo
Are you fed up with losing your keys/ wallet/phone/everything? Well, you will probably fancy a very clever new app. Katie Wright investigates
Forgetful folk of the world, rejoice – a new crowdfunded gadget, billed as 'the world's largest lost and found' promises to help locate your lost belongings. Tile is a little white tag (it's about 4cm across) that you attach to your valuables and sync with an app for iPhone or iPad (www.thetileapp.com). Can't find your keys at home? Tell the Tile to play a tune and you can find it by sound. Lost them during a night out?
The app will track your Tile up to about 45 metres away, with a radar symbol telling you when you're getting closer.
Up to eight Tiles can be synced to one account and you can safely share your tags with others, so parents can track their kids' gadgets for example (or vice versa if Dad's always the one hunting for his car keys).
Tile is affordable, they cost $19.95 apiece (about £12) plus £8 shipping.
It's also very functional – a hole in the Tile makes it easy to attach to keyrings and an optional double-sided adhesive patch lets you stick it to stuff too.
It's waterproof, doesn't need batteries or charging, and lasts a year.
But where this tiny item-finder really comes into its own is with the Tile community. If a Tile-tagged article goes walkies, mark it as missing in the app and if another Tile comes within range of your lost bag/bike/bass guitar it sends an alert to that Tiler's phone, and to yours.
The bad news is this feature isn't available yet, but the makers promise it's coming soon.
When it does launch, the find-my-things effectiveness will depend on the span of the Tile community, which is where the crowdfunding origins help.
An off-the-charts success, the start-up's Selfstarter campaign raised a massive £1.5m last year and funders have been clamouring for their Tiles ever since.
After production delays, Tiles are now shipping, with the US company saying most of their 150,000 customers have opted for a buy-three-get-one-free bundle.
Demand from the EU has also been 'extremely high' so they're now accepting pre-orders for dispatch this autumn.
This isn't the first item-tracker on the market, but it's definitely the best.
While the distance range means it's better for finding misplaced things rather than tracking down stolen property, once the advanced features are rolled out it will get better on the crime-fighting front.
And if the Tile community grows, it really will become a worldwide lost and found.