Assignment: Impossible

Assignment: Impossible

Exploring the area between the unknown and the impossible.

A Modest Proposal: Consumer Wi-Fi Tags Redux


In the series "A Modest Proposal," my colleagues and I will propose inventions and projects that I think are eminently doable and would love made real.

Nearly two years back, I suggested locator tags one can place on one's own belongings to help find them if you misplace them -- say, your keys, or a television remote. (To be absolutely clear, I suggested placing tags on belongings that did not already possess tags -- I did not suggest, as some readers misunderstood, that manufacturers place tags in everything they made.)

Now it seems a company called Tile is creating something very much like what I suggested. Great minds think alike!

Moreover, they have the neat idea to use these devices to help find stolen goods by networking the devices together, and to have the devices emit sound if signaled to make them easier to find.

I'd still like thinner versions, like you see in library books. And I'd still like them to be used in ways to help inventory your belongings.

Incidentally, I found out about Tile via an ad on Facebook. So far the only time such an ad has proven useful to me. Hopefully there'll be more.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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