The pressures of daily life tend to make some of us loose focus from time to time and as a result we forget where we parked the car, where we left the remote, where our sun glasses might be, and the list goes on. One thing that Apple did right was to build in a way to track their lost or stolen devices. “Find my iPhone” is a free service that allows you to track your device when it goes missing.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that with all of the other things that we might misplace? The challenges would be to implement this ability in a way that is not obvious to thieves and that can be powered indefinitely. We could start with a solar powered key tag like device that could be attached to keys, but also to bags, shoe laces, left in cars, bicycles, etc.
The device would communicate using wifi to update a cloud based database with it’s current location. It would save up energy until it had enough to connect, then it would connect, transfer data and return to charging mode.
It would be nice if the device could use cell data networks as well, but size is important so that might not be possible with current day technology. It won’t be long before all of our cars and phones support WIFI or some other wireless network equivalent, so connecting to a network should become easier and less expensive (Power wise).
Devices could use other forms of energy to charge. In the 1970’s watch manufacturer’s came out with automatic winding watches. Inside the watch there was a pendulum that moved back and forth as you moved your arm. The pendulum would wind a spring that kept the watch movement running. The same technology could be applied to extract energy from motion. Keys that are in a purse or pocket move enough to wind a spring that could produce energy to charge a battery.
The first step in any product definition is finding a need. Finding things is definitely a need and as the boomers age, I would suggest to you that this need will increase. Finding a solution for the problem that addresses the need, is what we do.
Remember….”Engineers rule the world”…