StickNFind

Just 4.1mm thin, the StickNFind Indiegogo page notes you can "stick it anywhere." The tiny stickers run on a watch battery for up to a year, and when activated they have a small LED light and they buzz. No more lost wallets! Or passports...TV remotes...kids...

Kensington Proximo

Consumer electronics firm Kensington has leaped aboard the Bluetooth Smart bandwagon with a whole range of products that can help you find your valuables and, conversely, your smartphone. Each dongle is customizable, and you can tweak the sensitivity of the dongle (higher for critical stuff, we guess). A partner app helps you find the tags--and thus, your stuff--by showing the signal strength.

HipKey

Riffing heavily on the "lost keys" theme, HipKey is yet another smart Bluetooth dongle that you can hang on almost anything from your car keys to your kid's backpack. Like the others it can help you find missing items, and also tell you if something you prefer to be nearby is wandering out of range (your kids, your dog...).

BluTracker

BluTracker takes the whole Bluetooth 4 idea and turbo-charges it with a full GPS engine and motion sensors. In a bigger package, the dongle has a bigger range than its rivals--up to 2,500 feet--and you can find out exactly where the dongle is at all times, especially outdoors. Never lose your car in a carpark again!

GeoPalz ibitz

With a less Orwellian mission than tracking your kids' location, the ibitz clip-on dongle has a much healthier trick: It tracks your kids' activity instead. Like a smart pedometer, the dongle connects to a smartphone over Bluetooth so parents can see what's up. And to motivate kids activity can be converted into rewards like game levels or real gifts on Amazon.

Withings activity tracker

Like the ibitz, but with a sleeker, more adult-friendly design, Withings' new Smart Activity Tracker is like the Fitbit or Nike Fuel devices, but it's tiny and has a clever pulse detector on its rear face so you can track your cardio response while exercising. It's also another Bluetooth 4 device.

Cookoo smartwatch

A little like a simpler, more traditional wristwatch than its rival Pebble, the Cookoo watch just got a big CES launch. It connects to your smartphone over Bluetooth 4, and relays all sorts of useful data and alerts to your wrist so you have to fish out your phone from that awkward jeans pocket fewer times per day.

Is Bluetooth About To Get—Gulp—Cool?

Bluetooth is ditching the dork factor, and a slew of new dongle devices will make the tech extremely useful. You may never lose your keys, cash, or kids again!

Bluetooth tech has long been reviled because of terribly designed wireless phone handsets and the... strange habits of those who wear them. But that might be about to change. This is for a couple of reasons: Penetration, with many mainstream devices sporting Bluetooth; and the new Bluetooth Smart format (formerly Bluetooth 4) that enables a whole new class of gadgets.

Part of Bluetooth Smart's success stems from the fact it can allow the design of much lower-power devices. This means small Bluetooth-sporting gadgets can run on watch batteries for periods as long as a year, and yet still connect wirelessly.

This makes Smart absolutely ideal for the one gadget you've probably always secretly wanted, but which has been nigh on impossible until now: A wireless device that can help you find almost anything you've lost. Or, at least, one that you can stick onto items that you habitually lose so you can find them the next time you actually do, in fact, lose them. Because it'd be hard to stick such a device to something you can't find. Erm...well. You'll know what I mean the next time you hunt every corner of your house while making vague "door-opening" gestures when you've lost your keys.

In fact, devices from the HipKey to StickNFind imagine that you'll be slapping a Bluetooth dongle onto objects as diverse as your luggage, your dog, and your kids. Because those are items you really, really, want to find.

But Bluetooth 4 is also showing up in healthy gadgets like the Fitbit, countless wireless portable speakers, and even apps that automatically log you into/lock down your Mac.

Hence this is the year you're probably going to stop sneering at Bluetooth and learn to love the tech. Hey, it's named after a tenth Century viking king! How cool is that?

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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2 Comments

  • Tina

    hipKey is the most interesting one. Looks great. And it's features is just what I need. I will get at few for myself and my boyfriend.

  • Alex

    Bluetooth has always been cool. People have just coined the headsets as a "bluetooth" giving bluetooth a bad name.