Guess what, you can find cats on the Internet. Even your own cat

12 October 2014 by Steve Blum
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Than again, maybe he doesn’t want to be found.

The Internet of Things gets a lot more relevant when it becomes the Internet of Your Things. Keys, phones and pets, for example. Stuff you need to find every so often. That’s the simple idea behind TrackR, a company founded by a couple of U.C. Santa Barbara students and funded on Indiegogo.

They make little coin-sized gizmos that you can attach to your stuff and link to your smart phone via Bluetooth 4.0. If you can’t find your keys, open the app and trigger a beep. And it works both ways – if you have your keys and can’t find your phone, the TrackR device will page it. When you go looking for it, the app will tell you if you’re getting hotter or colder, based on the Bluetooth signal strength.

That’s not the coolest part, though. Simple beepers have been around forever – no big deal. Because the TrackR system runs through your smart phone, you can set up a (currently free) account and track your stuff via crowdsourced GPS. If you opt in to the network, any time another user passes within 100 feet of your stuff, his or her smartphone will see it and upload the location info to the TrackR servers, which will then pass it on to you.

Right now, pets seem to be the killer app. If you’ve ever gone looking for a missing cat, you know that that the cat controls the game. With the distance indicator and a couple of friends with their own TrackR accounts, the balance of power will shift. Maybe even in your favor.

Right now, TrackR is selling a $30 credit card-sized device to put in your wallet and a low-powered tag for $25. A beefier tag, called the Bravo, is due out in January with an expected price of $30.

Simplicity seems to sell. The founders originally went to Indiegogo looking for $20,000. So far, they’ve raised more than $1.3 million.