Some dogs just aren’t smart enough to find their way back home after getting lost. There are those occasional stories of brilliant dogs that make the headlines for traveling hundreds of miles to force a reunion but such canines are few and far between.
Take my dog, for example. He escaped from our six-foot, privacy-fenced backyard during a storm. Some strong winds dislodged our swinging gate and provided just enough opportunity for our beloved family member to run away – and run he did. We searched everywhere for the next week and hung “Lost Dog” posters at every intersection. He also had a micro-chip inserted a few years ago – so had any good Samaritan managed to capture his 120 pound frame and bring him to a nearby vet, we would have been notified. That never happened.
As it turned out, our family pooch just ran a little too far and couldn’t find his way back home. We finally received a call six days later and found him several miles away, laying in someone’s front yard – somewhat emaciated and quite dehydrated. He was overwhelmingly delighted to see us again.
Our story had a happy ending but it could have just as easily ended badly – as it does for thousands of people every day. Sometimes dogs run away and they are never found. Our lost dog story reveals a stark truth – the current system of finding a lost dog sucks.
Enter the Tile
The new Tile app is going to be a game changer for finding lost pets. Coming in 2014, the new iPhone app will allow you to track and find anything that has an attached tile.
This device isn’t being marketed as a lost dog finder. It’s intended for helping you find your keys, or wallet or any common item that you often misplace. But hey.. we’re guys and this is what we do – we take the latest, cool technology and we use it for a greater purpose.
With Tile, you buy as many as 10 tiles (per Tile account) and attach them to anything and everything that you’re likely to lose. Security is built in and only you will be able to see your Tile items – unless you choose to make a specific tile public. At that point, the entire community of Tile users can help you track any lost item. You can also explicitly share tiles with only those people you trust. A tile’s signal will travel 100 – 150 feet. The normal Bluetooth range is 100 feet but Tile is said to work in conjunction with other apps to extend it’s range.
While the app will obviously require a large user-community to be successful in finding public items, it’s predicable that this app is going to be a hit. Even if you’ve yet to purchase tiles, it would likely be fun to check for nearby items. Consider it a poor-man’s treasure hunt. As Tile becomes increasingly popular, it makes sense that more and more items will be tagged and found.
Just how many great uses could the Tile used for? Someone steal your car? Need to figure out where your teen is when it’s two hours past curfew? Keep a tile in your car for possible solutions to both of those problems. Throw a tile on that triathlon bike, should someone decide to ride away while you’re inside the gas-station buying an energy bar. You might even opt to add a tile to your kid’s backpack – couldn’t hurt!
We’ve already preordered our tiles. The cost is quite reasonable – buy one for $18.95 or eight (six + two bonus tiles) for just over $100.
Tile isn’t likely to be the ultimate solution in finding your lost objects and it doesn’t guarantee you’re going to find that lost dog. We’re still waiting for an app that offers GPS triangulation in finding items – making the Bluetooth range limitation a non-factor and taking away the necessity for crowd-sourcing a location.
For now though, it might be the best solution for finding lost items about the house and it could certainly help in driving around your neighborhood, looking for your lost dog.