It's pretty bad news if you can't find your umbrella when heading out into a storm, so the company Blunt is making an umbrella that'll be much harder to lose. Blunt is partnering with makers of the location-tracking chip Tile to create an umbrella that you'll be able to locate from an iPhone app. If the umbrella is a short distance away from you, it can be triggered to play a noise to help you find it. Otherwise, Tile's app will let you view the last location that it spotted the umbrella — so if you left it behind at a store, you should be able to figure out which one.
Tile started as a crowdfunding project
The umbrella comes in two models: a small folding umbrella called the Metro X_S + Tile and a full-sized umbrella called the Classic + Tile. They'll be available to preorder this week for $69 and $99, respectively.
Tile began as a crowdfunding project last year, raising over $2.6 million to create its tiny, location-tracking beacons. Those eponymous Tiles use Bluetooth to send their location to any nearby iPhone running the Tile app — that includes the phones of strangers. The app will remember wherever every Tile was last detected, no matter who detected it, but only the Tiles that you own will be displayed to you. That means that the more people start using Tile, the more useful it'll become.
Tile's integration with Blunt's umbrellas is actually fairly simple. It appears that Blunt has just made a little compartment on its umbrellas and then slipped a Tile inside of it, discretely hiding the location tracker. In fact, photos of the umbrella make it look like you could probably even remove the the Tile and use it elsewhere if you wanted to. Simple as it may be, it's a step toward making everyday products smarter in useful ways — even if it's just making up for your own forgetfulness.