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Home automation

The Air Tags are Here

Air Tag uses ultra wide band precision location technology and radios to quickly locate a missing Air Tag. It’s magic, well waveforms and math. And it works.

The Air Tags have been here about a week. The fobs a couple of days.

References

  1. https://mashtips.com/apple-airtag-precision-finding/ Nice explaination Find My presentation of the location process. No waveforms or math. IEEE has that locked up in standards and papers.

As a Key Finder

I have mislaid my keys once since then. Find My let me know they were in the house. We ended up playing Marco Polo for a bit to find which room they were in. Once the room was identified, the ultra-wideband position sensing took me right to them.

The Sound is Usefully Loud

I also left them in a pocket in the laundry. Find My quickly let me know they were in the laundry bin. The alert sound is loud enough to carry out of the laundry bin. There were only 3 pants to search so they were found quickly.

My first experience with a Bluetooth token was pretty dismal. The noise maker was too quiet to be heard when tossed into a laundry basket. There was no secondary form of cuing. The ultra wide band location requires a ultra wide band radio and associated ranging software.

Ultra Wide band Location and Ranging

My Mk VII Golf GTI key fob also uses Ultra Wide Band precision positioning to determine whether the key is inside or outside and which lock is nearest. I’ve yet to outsmart it. It won’t let you lock your keys in the car. It sometimes gets confused about the rear passenger door which is next to the gas filler door. The keys come attached to a $30,000 auto.

Apple may be the first to use ultra wide band remote sensing as a consumer product. Here, it actually works. A cute display indicates that Find My is chatting with the selected missing AirTag, a compass indicator shows the relative direction, and the approximate range is shown. This feedback is like the hot/cold feedback of hide and seek. It is very helpful search cuing.

Android Find My is Coming

At 2021 WWDC, Apple software VP Craig Federighi announced that Apple would be making an Android version of Find My to allow Android users to use AirTag and to locate a mis-laid Mac. Hardware capabilities will determine functionality. Those Android devices having ultra wide band locating capability (UWB radios) will support nearby direction and distance capabilities. Those without should be able to play Marco Polo with an AirTag and to talk to it by near field to learn its ID.