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Don't Ever Lose Your Keys Again

Gadgets, apps help you find things you routinely misplace

Augmented reality view of car tracking application from FOFA

Car tracking apps can help you navigate your way into a crowded parking lot.

Finding the Car

Most of us have experienced walking out of a big shopping mall and not remembering where the car is parked, especially if it's a place with which you are unfamiliar. It also happens with rental cars when you forget what the car looks like. Well, there's an app for that; actually several. They have names like, "Where's My Car", "Take Me To My Car", and "Find My Car". They are available for all the smartphone platforms and most of them work pretty much the same way. When you park your car you open the app, and hit the button that says something like "remember this location." It uses the GPS feature to pinpoint your location. Then you go do your business, and when you want to find your car you go back to the app and hit the button that says "find my car", and it points you in the right direction. An app called "Car Finder" uses a visual technology known as "augmented reality". With this app, you use your smartphone camera. It shows you a picture of where you are and there's a big red arrow to point you toward your car. Finally, there's a gadget called Auto Finder that uses a transmitter left in your car and a receiver attached to your keys. Activate it and it works a little like a Geiger counter – beeping more strongly as you get closer to the direction of the car. It's a little like playing an adult version of "You're Getting Warmer". But at $80, why bother?

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