Smartphones are helping users find their wallets, their luggage -- and even their socks.
Speaking at a morning session at this year's CES, a major consumer electronic event held from January 8-11 in Las Vegas, on the topic of the future of "connectivity," Vint Cerf, known as "the father of the internet," outlined what could be in store in the near future for software-enabled clothes.
"Can you imagine if our clothes were Internet-enabled?" Cerf asked. "Can you imagine if you lost a sock? You could send out a search and sock No. 3117 would respond that it's under the couch in the living room." He then joked, "but maybe that's not a good idea because you could tell your wife you're at work but then she texts you to say your shirt says it's down at the bar."
However this technology may already be close to reality. Back in October a company called Blacksocks released socks that can be sorted thanks to an iPhone app. Working in conjunction with pairs of specially designed handmade Italian socks incorporating a microchip, the Blacksocks iPhone app can track which sock belonged with which, the number of times they had been washed and even how many times the user had worn them.
Other devices, such as StickNFind, might not help you select clean socks to wear but it can help you locate your wallet, for example, for those mornings when you're in a rush. StickNFind uses specially designed adhesive disks and a smartphone app to track objects. Users simply attach a disk to the object they don't wish to lose, a wallet for example, and then when they can't find it they simply activate the free app which displays their distance from the misplaced object and causes the adhesive disk to emit a beeping sound and an LED light.
StickNFind works with distances of up to 100 feet and is currently available to pre-order on Indiegogo with a shipping date of March.
Meanwhile one of the hottest devices at this year's CES, TrackDot, could be used to help you locate all the items of clothing you took on holiday. The luggage-tracking gadget uses a small tracking device in conjunction with a smartphone app or SMS-enabled phone to inform travelers of where their luggage is in real time.