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Lost gadgets can find their way home with FinderCodes (video)

One company at CES has taken a high-tech approach to reuniting misplaced items with their owners.

Some people just excel at losing things. Whether it be keys, sunglasses, or cell phones, items seem to simply slip right through their fingers. While there are a few ways to combat the tendency to lose track of personal articles -- the key fobs that respond to a whistle comes to mind -- they generally only work when they're in range (and have battery life). One company at CES has taken a high-tech approach to reuniting misplaced items with their owners.

FinderCodes has created smart ID tags that come in keychain, sticker, and iron-on form so that they can be adhered to everything from pet collars, to kids' jackets and cell phones. If some honest soul recovers the tablet or smartphone that you left on your connecting flight, they can scan the QR code on the smart tag and you will instantly receive a text alert that someone has located your device with GPS information on the devices location. The finder can also type a message in order to contact the item's owner and the owner will receive the message via email. Because the owner's information is set up in their FinderCode profile, the finder never sees any of the owner's personal information like email or mailing addresses (unless the owner opts to provide it).

FinderCodes will also help the finder return the item, either by setting up an exchange with the owner or via an option to send the item through FedEx. Multiple shipping options are offered, all the finder needs to do is select one then verify and approve the information. Shipping charges are automatically billed to the owner; the finder never sees the owners billing information. An RMA number is issued, and FinderCodes will even display the closest FedEx location to the finder with links on location and hours of operation so returning a lost item becomes as easy as clicking a few buttons.

Grateful owners can also set up a reward payment through PayPal, which like the email and return information can also be kept anonymous. If the finder doesn't have a device that can scan QR codes, there's also an option to enter in the FinderCode ID on the FinderCodes website. There's no fee for FinderCodes, aside from the initial purchase ($25), and FinderCodes sells kits with multiple tags designed for pets, baby items, electronics, luggage, sports equipment, and home items like jackets or power tools. The tags are water and tear-proof; Findercodes also offers an app that offers more features for iPhone and Android users. I was also assured that they could easily port to Windows Phone 8 if there seems to be a demand for it.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.


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