RFID your stuff, find it with your mobile phone

Mitch Wagner sez, "uGrokIt lets people attach RFID tags to their stuff, locate it with a device that attaches to a smartphone, just like in Cory's Makers." The Geiger counter-style audio cues are a nice touch, and I like the salaryman who uses the gizmo to remind him that he's left his phone-charger under one of those pointless stand-up cards next to the nearly pointless land-line phone in his hotel room.

UGrokIt (Thanks, Mitch!)


  1. …the nearly pointless land-line phone in his hotel room

    By nearly pointless do you mean pointless unless you want to order room service, query reception about the noisy renovation work which has just woken you up, confirm with reception that the fire alarm was a false alarm without getting out of bed, contact a guest in a different room when you are in a hotel abroad or be cheaply contacted by friends and family when you are in a hotel abroad?

    1. Sadly omitted from your list, perhaps the most useful use for that nearly pointless landline:

      Locating your mobile phone, so you can use it to find whatever else you’ve lost. 

  2. instead of a geiger counter sound, can it say “cold… warm… warmer… so warm… WARMER… HOT… YOU’RE ON FIRE!!!”

  3. this is the dumbest shit of all time!  you have to locate TWO items in order to find one?  the more complex a system, the greater likelihood of it breaking down.

  4. A very interesting and useful concept indeed.

    I’d like a version that doesn’t require a phone.

  5. The only really useful feature (imo) is the “have I forgotten anything?”-thingy the sporty and the suit  use at the end of the clip…

  6. this is really inventing the problems its solving, *and* promoting the whole idea that rfid is just fine & dandy (and you shouldn’t mind its use in your id, passport, etc).

     I honestly can’t see any one of the demonstrated use cases without laughing.  Lose your keys? Try leaving them in the same place every time. The stuffed animal? Seriously!?  I don’t even get the girl w/the gym bag use case, and that biz traveler is an idiot.  I don’t need a device to do the “last sweep to remember where I placed everything in the hotel I’ve been at ONE freaking night”.  I wouldn’t trust that man with my corporate merger! He might forget where the assets and liabilities were placed.

  7. I’ve been developing a system almost identical to this (independently) since September.

    Much like the UGrokIt folks, my motivation for developing this system is mostly personal. To quote their site: “U Grok It was born as a way to reduce our family stress over all the everyday items that go missing just when you need them.”

    I’ve been a 3-4 season commuter cyclist in Washington for the past few years and I’ve found a ‘spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch’-ish routine somewhat incapable for the variety of trips I take (school, work, short). Sure I can rememember (most of) the basics (wallet, keys, emergency kit, phone, lock, water bottle, change of shoes, pocket knife, lighter) most of the time, but in society it’s tricky for me to have a worry-free, healthy day without each of those. And that’s not counting the extra stuff I need.

    Of course I’m not saying there aren’t issues with this system (or probably any system like it). Security, losing the phone itself, hefty addon hardware, actual usefulness are the obvious ones and have been stated earlier. But I do think that keeping track of personal items is an interesting problem and this is a fair shake at a solution.

  8. I made a system like this 2 years ago at NASA, as a prototype for the ISS. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsRO4xHjKls#t=4m13s

    @doctorow:twitter  I mentioned this to you at CCC!

  9. I was thinking about something like this this morning. I want to stick an RFID tag in every book I own so I can catalog them and find each one again when I want it. Yes, the video is hokey and the form factor reeks 1980, but the idea is the same one Google has sold to millions of people in the form of Gmail: search, don’t sort. 

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