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U Grok It Wants to Help Consumers and Small Businesses Find Their Stuff
The company has developed a system using an RFID reader plugged into a smartphone to interrogate passive UHF tags attached to items that households or businesses may misplace.
According to Requist, Grokker is designed to do more than just find things. For example, she says, the U Grok It app can also be employed to search for a group of items. If a particular piece of equipment needs to be packed into a gym bag, for instance, the user can wave the Grokker near that bag and view an alert on the screen indicating any object that may be absent, enabling him or her to walk around a room or house looking for the missing object. That function, she says, is also useful for business travelers when leaving home or a hotel room, to ensure that everything has been packed, and that items such as a phone charger are not left behind.
What's more, the app software can save historical data indicating which items have been searched for. All Grokker data is stored on the U Grok It hosted server, which a user can access via the mobile phone's Internet connection. In the future, Requist says, the company plans to incorporate a GPS device into each Grokker unit, in order to enable a user to store not only an item's description linked to its tag ID, but also the longitude and latitude at which that object was found or is expected to be located.
The Requists have yet to determine when they plan to commercially release their system. Although their firm has developed a working prototype of the Grokker, she says, it is currently in the process of manufacturing the readers. Initially, the kits will come with Alien Technology Squiggle UHF tags. Other makes and models of UHF EPC tags would also operate with the system, she notes.
In the future, Requist reports, the U Grok It system could also be used by small businesses, such as stores that may already contain tagged products but that do not want the expense of purchasing standalone handheld readers and software. In this case, a company would need to buy only the Grokker, and then use the device with its existing phones. She expects the system also to be used by students conducting RFID-related research, as well as RFID hobbyists and entrepreneurs, since it would make it possible for a user to read tags at a very low cost.
U Grok It initially plans to sell its products on its Web site, Request says, and expects to work with distributors down the line. The company is now accepting reservations on its Web site from those interested in purchasing the kits. Customers need only supply an e-mail address to be notified when the system becomes available for purchase.
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