At CES 2017, Pixie revealed that they’ve updated their lost and found tracker with an augmented reality feature — if you’ve lost your keys, you can do a sweep of the room with your phone’s camera to see exactly which couch cushion they’re hiding under. Well, in theory, anyway — we got a chance to put the Pixie trackers and app to the test to see just how good these lost and found trackers really are.
Pixie is a set of thin disc-like adhesive tags (called Pixie Points) to put on items you don’t want to lose. These are tracked via Bluetooth on the Pixie app (iOS only) where the information is put through augmented reality. Using your iPhone camera, you can see where in the room the Pixie Point is with several tools to help you get closer — you’ll see a little magic Pixie dust appear on-screen to show where your lost item is.
In the $100 box there are four Pixie tags, one key ring or pet collar loop, extra adhesives, and four cleaning wipes. The primary tag is your iPhone tag and the first one you are asked to connect. You can place this directly onto your personal phone case (each tag uses a removable adhesive), or you can use the iPhone case that comes with the purchase. I am partial to my Pad & Quill iPhone case, so I attached the Pixie Point to the back of my case. That case is made of real, smooth hardwood so I wasn’t sure if the tracker would stick well or not, and even more concerned it would leave residue on the case. Both worries were unfounded, as it stuck well and came off cleanly, too.
After you pair the primary tracker with your phone, you can move on to the other tags. I put the key ring on my keys because I lose them constantly. After pairing the key ring, I set them on the side table and decided to test out the Find feature on the app. You can see the key chain sitting on the tray in the picture above the elephant. Pixie uses triangulation based on the location of all Pixie trackers in use, including the one on your phone. This means that you HAVE to use the Pixie Point on your phone for the augmented reality feature to work.
When you tap on the Pixie Point you are looking for, it opens the iPhone camera, asking you to help orient the space by moving in a circle, like you’re taking a panorama picture. Once you are close enough for the augmented reality to be useful, it shows you the room with a Pixie dust animation guiding you towards the item. As you can see in the picture, it was pointing towards the couch rather than the tray where the keys were sitting. Close enough! How to improve accuracy is to not walk during AR. Walking degrades the accuracy and causes AR mode to turn off. Stay stationary for the best read. After a little bit of AR usage, a metal detector pops up and starts making noise to show you when you are getting closer or farther away from the item. If you do not have a Pixie point on your phone, the AR won’t work, but this metal detector feature will.
The Pixie Points come with batteries that last up to a year and you can monitor battery usage on the app. Each Point is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance (submerged up to three feet). This is reassuring in case one accidentally ends up in the washing machine. The range of the Pixie is up to 150 feet outside and about 30 to 50 feet indoors. That is pretty good, and testing it out proved that to be true. With how small each Pixie is, it is pretty amazing what it is capable of. Just keep in mind that if your lost item is outside that range, Pixie can’t do much to help.