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Over the course of a lifetime, the average person spends about a year looking for misplaced items. Geoff Litwack estimates that his business partner, Louis Gerbarg, was trending a bit above average in this area. 

Lost and quickly found.

Find your keys fast with new device and app.


As co-founders of GLsoft.mobi, a startup that builds software and hardware for mobile devices, Litwack and Gerbarg decided to tackle the proverbial lost keys dilemma by building Hone — a small gadget that attaches to a keychain and pairs wirelessly with an accompanying mobile app.

“If you ever lose your keys, you can hit the ‘Find’ button in the app to activate the Hone on your keychain,” says Litwack. Once activated, the Hone device flashes and beeps loudly at a distance of up to 160 feet. At the same time, Hone’s mobile app provides a visual proximity display to let you know if you’re moving closer to or father away from the device. For those times when a quiet retrieval is needed, the app’s proximity sensor can be activated alone without prompting the Hone device to emit sound.

While designing Hone, Litwack and Gerbarg researched other key-tracking devices made by competitors. Litwack notes, “Other products suffered from poor battery life or were way too big, or didn’t work with the iPhone.” With these limitations and common complaints in mind, the two engineered Hone to be smaller and last longer than similar devices. Weighing in at just half an ounce, Hone is smaller than a box of matches and can function for up to six months on a single battery — more than 20 times longer than some of their competitors’ products. Hone’s mobile app is compatible with iPhone (4S/5) and iPad (3/4)and uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the physical Hone device.

The development of Hone was funded, in part, through the popular crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter, which proved to have some definite advantages for Gerbarg and Litwack during the final design phase of their product. Litwack notes, “We fielded many excellent suggestions and were prompted to answer questions we hadn’t initially considered.”

Litwack says that one supporter, a blind man, asked if he would be able to use multiple Hones with his iPhone, and if the app would have an audio interface for the visually impaired. He also told the developers that if he had six or seven Hones, he’d be able to keep better track of the objects he used most and have a way to know exactly where they were, on demand.

“We were blown away by this use for the technology we’d never considered, and thought that was the most amazing demonstration of the power of direct communication with our users,” Litwack says. As a result of the user’s input, the requested functionality was built into Hone’s design.

Litwack and Gerbarg plan to use the same user input iterative design approach to develop additional Bluetooth low-energy mobile solutions in the future. Who knows, perhaps your insight can help to shape the next innovative mobile solution from GLsoft.mobi.
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