How often do you misplace your phone? Your keys? Your wallet? Your passport, right before you need to leave for the airport?
Israeli company Pixie promises to put an end to the days of frantically searching for missing valuables when you need them most. Pixie’s technology uses a Location-of-Things platform to derive the precise location of our valuables at all times – taking a step beyond typical Internet-of-Things platforms that connect objects to the Internet, but cannot locate their whereabouts.
Case in “point”
So how exactly does it work? All you need is a pack of Pixie Points – smart tags that you can affix to just about everything (even your pet!) – and the free mobile Pixie app. Made of the same polymer as Lego blocks, the teardrop-shaped Pixie Point is durable, lightweight, thin, waterproof, and even machine-washable.
Once you stick a Pixie Point onto an item of your choice, the item becomes “pixified,” meaning that it joins a closed, private network of all of the pixified items your smartphone keeps track of via Bluetooth. So, let’s say you lose your pixified remote control. All you have to do is open your Pixie app, which displays an augmented reality view using your smartphone’s camera marking the location of the missing remote control with a bold ‘X’.
Each Pixie Point has a 50-foot range indoors and a 150-foot range outdoors, within the accuracy of a foot.
Additional features that make Pixie’s object location tech even cooler is the option to geo-fence your pixified valuables so that you’ll be alerted if you leave the range of whatever zone you’ve set up. Another is that you can create customized checklists for different situations, like travel kits and business kits. So before you leave for the office, all you would have to do is flash your smartphone in your bag to make sure all of the items in your business kit – computer, charger, phone, etc. – are there.
Pixie is the brainchild of CEO Amir Bassan-Eskenazi, who in an interview with Times of Israel explained how his mischievous cat bolting out the front door on the morning of a critical business meeting, ultimately making him a half hour late, inspired the idea for Pixie. “It struck me how odd it was that technology had moved with such incredible velocity in the digital world, but had lagged so remarkably in the physical world,” Bassan-Eskenazi told Times of Israel. “That seemed like a disconnect that was simply unacceptable.” So, Bassan-Eskenazi got to work. Pixie technology was developed over a span of two years, and has raised $6 million in two funding rounds.
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Given the rising popularity of Internet-of-Things gadgets, it is no surprise that Pixie faces considerable competition in the market. TrackR and Tile, for instance, are also small, attachable Bluetooth devices that serve the same location-tracking function. As opposed to Pixie, both devices emit a loud signal at the press of a button on their corresponding phone apps, making it easier to find a missing item. Also, the devices utilize crowdsourced GPS, meaning that even if you leave an item somewhere far out of your personal tracking range, the item’s location can be picked up by another nearby user on TrackR or Tile, notifying you of where you can pick it up.
Pixie, however, still manages to stand out from its competitors in two distinct ways: higher accuracy and object-to-object communication. While TrackR uses wireless signal strength to show how close or far away you might be to your missing item, and Tile gives you text clues to help in your search (“It’s about an arm’s length away”), Pixie has the edge with its augmented reality feature that marks exactly in the space where your missing item is located.
To add, pixified objects not only communicate with the app, but also with each other to create a more accurate map of the location of all of your pixified objects. So, accuracy improves with each added Pixie Point on the network.
Pixie is now available for purchase via the presale at $69.95 for a pack of four Pixie Points, and is set to ship out to customers by the end of the summer.