Keeping track of things has always been a thorn in my side. This morning I awoke to the realization that I’d yet again forgotten to cancel my Audible.com subscription. Just a few minutes ago I discovered that I missed a package delivery for something I ordered a couple of weeks ago, so I’m hoping the package is still waiting for me to pick up at my local post office. I don’t know how in the world I missed this package’s delivery, either, since I’m nearly always home. Perhaps I was taking a shower at the time, or taking care of some other personal business, and didn’t hear the postal knock.
I wouldn’t be going through this hassle if I had some way of being alerted when the delivery person was approaching — something that would sound an alert on my iPod touch, for example, whenever the delivery truck was approaching my neighborhood. That way, I’d know not to jump into the shower quite yet. Heck, even some kind of alert that would simply go to my iPod whenever the delivery person was near my door, so that I could have enough time to put some clothes on and prepare to collect my goods. I mean, I do sometimes take my iPod with me into the bath. (Oh, come on, don’t act surprised. You know you take phone calls into the bathroom, too.)
Well, my wish has nearly been granted. All it’s going to take is enough of y’all to fund this campaign to get a gadget called Wallet TrackR in your pocket. The device, should its funding be realized,
will help me keep track of my wallet while I’m in the shower — or, even more usefully, when I’m out and about and have misplaced it.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Haven’t we seen this before? Only in our dreams (or on YouTube). Wallet tracking devices have been around a few years, but none of them have really stood out as “must-have” devices due to problems such as size or battery duration. In case you haven’t watched the video included with this article, the way it works is this. You place a credit card-sized device in your wallet, then install an app on your iOS (iPhone or iPad) device. Whenever you’ve misplaced your wallet, simply open up the Wallet TrackR app on your iOS device, and voila! The credit card in your wallet will make a sound to alert you to its location.
Sounds familiar, right? But the developers of Wallet TrackR aim to do more than simply provide a modern-day key finder. Losing a wallet can be a big deal, as anyone who carries anything important in their wallet should know, and simply having your wallet alert you to its location with a sound might be more useful to a potential thief than a user if, say, you’ve lost your wallet while jogging in the park. (Imagine a morally ambiguous stranger walking along the path you earlier traversed, discovering your wallet thanks to the beeping sound emitting from its betraying heart.) Ideally, you would want your wallet to be undiscovered by others while it’s notifying you of its location. Though no such cloaking device yet exists in our world, Wallet TrackR aims to provide the next best thing: a map of your wallet’s location displayed right there on your iPad (or iPhone, or even iPod touch). This is enabled by the GPS radio that is embedded in the Wallet TrackR device. So instead of enabling your wallet to double-cross you by announcing its location to strangers, you can instruct your wallet to quietly advise you of its location so that you may retrieve it before some unscrupulous person does it for you first.
The device is not available yet, so I can’t offer a personal review of whether or not it works. Only a prototype of Wallet TrackR exists at this point, and the product will only materialize if enough people pledge their support of the idea using the crowd funding mechanism the device’s developers have in place at their website. I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing a gadget like this that works — one that is slim enough for me to keep in my wallet without bulging uncomfortably and which has decent enough battery life for the device to be actually practical. Wallet (and other item) tracking devices that have hit the marketplace up to this point haven’t met those requirements. As most of us using smartphones have realized, the GPS radio on our devices has the greatest impact on battery drainage.
Though I don’t get out much, I’d really like to see something like Wallet TrackR succeed, because any success with tracking technology brings us closer to the realization of other tracking technologies (such as my fantasy about being able to track the delivery person). Plus, I’m getting tired of having to undertake a full-scale search-and-discovery expedition every time I simply need to find the library card in my wallet. Please, dear wallet, just tell me where you are! I promise to not to lose you again. (Fingers crossed behind my back.)