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Technology Hardware

The Internet of Things Just Found Your Lost Wallet 108

Nerval's Lobster writes Ever forgotten your wallet in a coffee shop or restaurant? Now there's a way to ensure it'll never happen again: Woolet, which its creators bill as a "smart wallet." It features a rechargeable battery, Bluetooth support, and the ability to synchronize with a smartphone app; if you walk 20-85 feet away from your wallet, the app will make a sound and guide you back to it. The platform's being financed on Kickstarter, and attracted attention from TechCrunch and some other places, but it begs the question: is this yet another example of connected devices run amok—shiny and interesting as a concept but not nearly useful enough for the population at large? What would it take for a connected device, whether a wallet or a smoke detector, to gain mass appeal?
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The Internet of Things Just Found Your Lost Wallet

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Helps me track the position of my wallet in real-time.

  • probably doesn't even have a wallet

    keys, credit card, id, etc.: there's an app for that

    • An App for ID? Sure. When you get stopped by the police just hand them your cellphone so they can sync it in their squad car.

      • There are already Bluetooth tags small enough to put in your wallet which do the same thing, and they cost $10-$25, not the $80 being asked for one of these wallets pre-order.

        Not something I'd invest in. It's already being done just as well, cheaper. In fact it's probably not even patentable, because it's not transformative at all. It's just two existing products put together.
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @01:29AM (#49255027)

    ... this is where this idea always falls apart.

    • This might be more useful in reverse. Set it for 10 feet and really loud. If someone steals your phone, an alarm goes off when they get a certain distance away.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now if you leave the wallet and the battery dies it can't alert you but the fact you aren't being alerted leads you to believe you have your wallet on your person and you continue on your merry way.
    I'll stick with my dumb wallet.

    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      I suspect it's more that the app on your phone is a deadman switch. It goes off when it stops detecting the wallet. Which means that when the batteries in the wallet go dead, your phone makes annoying noise.

      I can't help but wonder if they're smart enough to have a way to simply turn the app off and leave it off when you're away from the charger. (I cannot, of course, be bothered to read the article to find out.)

    • yes. I lost my mobile phone (cellphone) and it was found by a car detailing firm when I was to sell my car - actually under the passenger seat but that's another story. IOT we really aren't there yet I believe - 'specially for oldies like me who don't own or want to own a smartphone.
      • I own a neutered smartphone. I use it over wifi or my pocket sized cellular wifi router (which is pay-as-you-go). It's a challenge keeping a cheap neutered smartphone happy, because it's a cheap but nice (Gorilla Glass, Android 4.4, etc.) Boost Android phone that was only $40 and Boost seems sort of upset that I've not activated it. It demands to activate every time it's rebooted, with long timeouts when it is disabled from use unless I press the 'activate' button. All avoided by seldom ever powering it

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @01:36AM (#49255039)

    Internet of Things and a Kickstarter Slashvertisement combined. For the nitpicky, we can even debate the proper use of "begs the question". All it really needs is something about 3D printing and some angle about getting more women into technology, and it would be perfect. Something for everyone!

    Also... wait, did they just describe this as a "platform"? People are going to write apps for this or something?

  • Or you could just use one of those combined wallet/phone cases if you're losing it all the time. Either way, your wallet is going to be a little bigger.

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @01:45AM (#49255067)

    The big problem I see with IoT devices is focusing on the sizzle... and there is little, to any effort focused on security. With how inexpensive 3G boards are, it is easy to get a device online with its own Internet connection... but why should it be connected even in the first place?

    What is wrong with having devices in a house communicate to a central server that has a hardened Internet connection, and that communicates out/in? This way, it lowers the attack surface from being able to nail the device from anywhere on the Internet to having to be in radio range of the item.

    Even with that, there is really no point for most of the uses of Internet connected items in the first place, and because budgets usually place security dead last, they are just disasters waiting to happen, especially when the only way to fix the security exploits would likely be to replace the entire device.

    • I think a lot of IoT implementation have that idea of a central server. There is nothing wrong with it, but even then, IP still comes in handy because so many integration issues are already solved. For instance, there are existing IETF protocols for device discovery currently used for devices like printers that would work well for other devices as well.

  • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @01:54AM (#49255081) Homepage

    OR how about just get a chain for your wallet? Sometimes low tech is the best tech. Don't lose your shit in the first place.

  • by networkzombie ( 921324 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @02:00AM (#49255089)
    I already can't leave the house without charging my Bluetooth headset, my Fitbit, my iPhone, my iPad, my Kindle, my iPod, my MacBook, and my iWatch. Now I'll need to charge my wallet.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      if you have all those expensive rechargeable devices, you probably have even more e and/or i-shit.. so what the hell you need a wallet for? you surely don't have any cash or usable credit cards, nor any pictures of a current girlfriend or wife, to store in it.

    • I already can't leave the house without charging my Bluetooth headset, my Fitbit, my iPhone, my iPad, my Kindle, my iPod, my MacBook, and my iWatch. Now I'll need to charge my wallet.

      I'm guessing you're probably trying to be funny..but 2 year battery life - it will also charge through recycling heat or kinetic energy.

    • A lot of redundancy in all of that. And no, you don't have an iWatch.
    • While some coin cells can last years in very low power applications, you'd probably do better using Gen-2 RFID tags for just finding something. The tags are powered over the air by the device reading them and do not require batteries.
    • Now I'll need to charge my wallet.

      Just use your charge card.

  • What would it take for a connected device, whether a wallet or a smoke detector, to gain mass appeal?

    It will take a few billion more in marketing campaigns to get people to care.

    Once they do you have a short while until your customers begin notice how worthless and or dangerous their purchase turned out to be.

    • This isn't IoT in the first place. The wallet has a beacon. It isn't connected to the Internet nor does it really make use of Internet Protocols.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Saturday March 14, 2015 @02:14AM (#49255113) Homepage Journal

    There's a cheaper solution. I believe it's called a "trucker's chain." Even if your wallet falls out of your pocket, it just dangles a foot or two below your belt loops.

    It never runs out of batteries, doesn't require installing an app, doesn't require a smartphone, and doesn't let the whole world know you forgot your wallet by blaring sound effects.

    What I really have to laugh at is the fact that now you have to carry both your wallet and your smartphone with you all the time for this concept to work. I don't mind carrying my wallet all the time, but being forced to carry the smartphone just to keep the wallet quiet seems kind of asinine to me.

    • Yup. I have my wallet & phone on lanyards, the type you hang a conference pass or door card on.

    • Another advantage being that your wallet won't sit there alerting everyone to the fact that its owner isn't anywhere nearby...

    • There's a cheaper solution. I believe it's called a "trucker's chain."

      But this thing has the advantage of alerting all thieves in your vicinity that you have money to burn on fancy electronics, the precise location of your wallet, and whether it's in your possesion or you've just lost it.

    • There's a cheaper solution. I believe it's called a "trucker's chain." Even if your wallet falls out of your pocket, it just dangles a foot or two below your belt loops.

      Yeah, this is how I learned to stop losing my wallet. I only had to have the chain pull it off the counter and dump all the contents on the floor at the bank three times...

      What I really have to laugh at is the fact that now you have to carry both your wallet and your smartphone with you all the time for this concept to work. I don't mind carrying my wallet all the time, but being forced to carry the smartphone just to keep the wallet quiet seems kind of asinine to me.

      The majority of us carry our smartphones all the time. Maybe not around our dwelling, or when we are naked, but pretty much at all other times.

      • Beep Beep. If I don't have my phone with me, I don't feel at all safe or connected. Beep Beep.

        Beep Beep [youtube.com]

        • Beep Beep. If I don't have my phone with me, I don't feel at all safe or connected. Beep Beep.

          Wow, you're quite pathetic, eh? I simply find that if I don't have my phone with me, I can't use it.

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        Trucker wallets have zippers. I call "bullshit" on your story of dumping the contents of your wallet by pulling on the chain.

        • Trucker wallets have zippers. I call "bullshit" on your story of dumping the contents of your wallet by pulling on the chain.

          This is a story about having a chain on a wallet, not about having precisely whatever you imagined I had.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      What I really have to laugh at is the fact that now you have to carry both your wallet and your smartphone with you all the time for this concept to work.

      Isn't that what most people do anyway? That, plus a keyring.

  • Give me a way I can link my smartphone to my prescription sunnies (without compromising their use as sunnies) and I am very much interested (says the guy who has lost many pairs of sunnies over the years and only recently lost yet another pair)

  • oh you mean the IoT!
    • I work in marketing & my current task is finding the Interested Demographic of the Internet Of Things.

  • I get why many people will probably see this as a gimick but as someone who loses fucking everything, I think this is _really_really_ cool and after reading in to it, seems like the guys behind it know their shit. It is certainly a well thought out design. Sure I can wear a truckers chain, as other people have mentioned but I'm in my 20's - I could never imagine wearing one of those. While practical, they are clunky and would only serve to annoy.

  • Apart from being wallet-specifc, seems similar to lapa-app.com (the latter offers tiny devices that you can attach to things you might lose so you can be alerted if you're in the process of losing said things.. bung one in a wallet, job done)
  • And I never in my life would leave a bunch of money lying on the counter anywhere.

    This must be for girls, they have more like a big leather 3 pound photo album/scrapbook thingie that they name 'wallet'.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If my wallet would vibrate when it's away from my phone, that'd be just as good.

  • if you walk 20-85 feet away from your wallet, the app will make a sound and guide you back to it.

    85 feet? So, far enough to be out of earshot thanks to walls and other obstructions, and even if you do hear it you might not make it back in time before someone else has been attracted to the sound and stolen your wallet.

    And if you're so forgetful that you need this, you're probably forgetful enough to leave your phone behind too.

    • Read what you quoted a few more times until you realize it's YOUR PHONE that makes the noise, not the wallet.

      The wallet just has some shitty Bluetooth LE transponder and battery in it.

      This should probably be sold as an insert for any wallet rather than a full wallet, especially their shitty design.

      • Read what you quoted a few more times until you realize it's YOUR PHONE that makes the noise, not the wallet.

        A few more times? I clearly didn't even read it once! Oops.

      • This should probably be sold as an insert for any wallet rather than a full wallet, especially their shitty design.

        This is another serious issue for me. It is really really hard to find a good wallet of the proper size and configuration. Everything I have seen sold at a Big Box store is completely unacceptable, and botique-type places also are severely lacking. I had to go to a traditional 'leather shop' in a classic 'tourist trap' historic town to find a suitable wallet at any price.

  • The Internet of Things just found my lost wallet. So did the NSA, which is why it's empty now.

    • The NSA doesn't want your cash. They have bigger fish to fry. Also, they are in league with other TLAs and can print up some twenties to slip in your wallet, with little effort.

  • I don't want to have to cancel my planetarium membership.

  • The Internet of Things can kiss my ass. Every day, I come to appreciate the things that are not connected to the Internet more and more.

  • The product would be a RFID tag reader that attaches to your keychain, rather than being embedded in one personal item like Woolet, and stays connected to your smartphone with Bluetooth. The device would read passive RFID tags in its vicinity, the simple stick-on tags with a range of a few meters.

    In the accompanying app, you would build lists of items you need to have with you on a series of given named occasions. When you leave the house to do something important, you scroll to, say "See Mistress" and the

    • Passive RFID doesnt have a range much bigger than a few inches.

      Also range is dependent on the size of the cooper ring (antenna) or the passive device and/or the active device (reader)

      Unless your keychain is 4 feet long... you aint going to be reading any passive devices around you. Also, orientation is important, so you might, with your 4 foot long key chain, find devices directly ahead, however, if they are a few inches to the left... they might as well not exist.

      • You're probably thinking of NFC. Passive RFID tags have a range of 1-3m, which is perfect for determining whether items on one of my lists of must-have items is on the user's body:
        http://www.rfidjournal.com/faq... [rfidjournal.com]

        • I'm not thinking of anything. I know exactly what I am talking about because I sell, design and install security systems all day long.

          NFC is a set of technologies for smartphones, that uses standard RFID frequencies.They can typicaly read 13.56Mhz RFID which is smartcard technology (Mifare, desFire, etc...) found in newer access cards and bank cards.

          RFID is a generic term. Specific technologies and frequencies are whats important.

          Regardless of any of this, read your link carefully, it doesn't say that you c

  • So when I'm home and leave the wallet in one place my phone is going to make an alarm when I move about the house as it gets out of range or am I going to have to carry my wallet around with me all of the time now too? Or is there an geographic area that it turns off? Because when I head up to bed and take my phone it's more than 20 feet away from my wallet which could trigger the alarm.

    • Not just at home. I never take my wallet when I go for a walk, and would quickly turn off an app that tried to alert me whenever I did.

  • Now all I need is an app to find where I left my phone! ....has anyone seen it?

  • ...you lose your smartphone, eh?
  • There's nothing I want more than an Internet-connected phone keeping a record of my location and sharing it with some random app publisher. Nothing could go wrong.
  • > What would it take for a connected device, whether a wallet or a smoke detector, to gain mass appeal?

    A front-page ad on Slashdot, obviously.

  • I have on my keys right now :)

  • When my kids were younger, they tended to get lost at theme parks. I wish I had been able to get some kind of warning whenever they drifted too far away from me. So maybe this wallet solution can be adapted to other uses as well? Giving the wallet to the kids is not an option, :-)

  • empowers data mining companies to track and correlate your cash purchases with your credit card purchases.

    At least of I were CTO of a company developing something like this I'd be talking with one of those big consumer data aggregators that has everyone's data but almost nobody has ever heard of. Which is why I'd never work on something like this. I wouldn't want the conflict between public responsibility and duty to the shareholders.

  • What would it take for a connected device, whether a wallet or a smoke detector, to gain mass appeal?

    For it to only be connected to devices I own. I am sorry, but I just do not get the "Internet of things".

  • Does anybody remember Tile? I chipped in when they were doing their initial fundraising, but I never heard back from them. Anyway, it was pretty similar to this. But it would even work if your lost thing was far away, as long as enough people use the Tile app. The idea was to turn everybody's iPhone into a thing finder for lost stuff. Pretty ingenious, but it delves a little too far into the creepy realm for most people. "You want to use *my* phone to find *your* stuff?!"
  • Mobile payments are here. It will take some time to become ubiquitous to the point where you no longer need a wallet, but it's coming. Digital IDs (i.e. digital drivers license) are the next step. Once we have these, wallets will no longer be as common. Why carry a wallet and a phone with you if you only need the phone?

    Sates working on Digital IDs:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com]

    • Why carry a wallet and a phone with you if you only need the phone?

      On the other hand, why carry a phone when all you *need* is your wallet? And a wallet doesn't have potential battery or reception problems, etc... Seriously, a phone is not really a necessity.

      Also, mobile payments further intrude on one's privacy and can be more time consuming that cash or a CC - for example, yesterday it took one guy (and the clerk) 2 minutes to get the scanner to read the qrcode on his smartphone so he could pay for his lunch. I can see many potential problems with digital IDs as wel

  • if you walk 20-85 feet away from your wallet, the app will make a sound and guide you back to it.

    More specifically, if your wallet/keys and *phone* are separated by 20-85 feet. So now I have to carry my phone *everywhere* I take my wallet or keys? Like using my keys to get something from the car in the driveway or shed in the back yard - or running out to get some milk. There are numerous activities for which one wants to use keys or a wallet, but doesn't need their cell phone.

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