While Tile Mate, Tile Slim, and Tile Pro all got serious upgrades this year, Tile Sticker is our only all-new addition to the lineup of community favorites. And to those who claim that big things come in small packages: well, you’re absolutely right. Because Sticker is our smallest, stickiest, most put-it-anywhere Tile so easy and helpful you’ll have trouble figuring out where not to put it.
Read on for an insider’s look into the development process and a list of Sticker use cases so long it may very well blow your socks off.
When we reviewed the full lineup of the new Tile finders, we shared that Sticker’s code name during development was “Proteus,” alluding to its versatility, adaptability, and small size.
And while naming it was easy, actually making it was a bit more complex.
Our engineers challenged themselves to reduce the audio chamber size without compromising volume, make it waterproof, extend the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) range capacity of the tiny Tile to 150ft / 45m, and make sure it can withstand almost anything.
We imagined a Bluetoooth tracker so convenient, you'd pop it onto just about anything.
Our first challenge: make it smaller, but keep the volume.
In order to make the Tile ring, we use a combination of a small glass piezo, a couple of electrical contacts, a perfectly-tuned volume chamber, and three small speaker holes. When you tap “find” in your app to make your Tile ring, the electrical contacts send a volt of electricity through the small glass piezo--positioned just under the volume chamber--to make it vibrate. Those vibrations resonate in the chamber above and the resulting sound escapes from the speaker holes to reach your waiting ears.
The electrical contacts send volts of electricity through the glass piezo above it, echoing in the volume chamber.
The engineering magic lies in the size of the volume chamber. If the chamber is too small, the Tile will be thinner but the sound won’t have enough room to resonate. If the chamber is too large, the piezo is too far from the speakers to make enough noise.
So how do we do it?
Like most else in life, it’s a mix of blood, sweat, and trial and error. Well, mostly trial and error using a few 3D-printed prototypes, resulting in a little tracker that gets LOUD--helping you find your things wherever they may be hiding.
Next challenge: make it waterproof.
Sticker’s IP rating (more formally known as ingress protection rating) is classified at IPX7, meaning it’s not just water-resistant, it’s waterproof up to 3ft/1m for up to 30 minutes. With this waterproof rating, you can attach it to your snowboard, stick it to your camping gear, place it onto your water bottle, or on anything you use that might get wet.
It’s been spill, splash, and dunk-tested to ensure its ultrasonic welded hermetic seals and external plastic housing is up for anything. So feel free to get a little crazy with it. (Note: we don’t recommend putting your Sticker through the dishwasher, but we sure had fun testing it in the lab!)
The balance between battery life and product size is a delicate one.
Challenge three: ensure a longer battery life without increasing size.
Now, for the first time ever, we’re able to offer an unprecedented 3-year battery life guaranteed on two of our newest Tiles; Sticker and Slim. To do this, our engineers tailored our Bluetooth low-energy circuits with a patented technology that maximizes battery life and works more efficiently to locate your things.
There’s nothing like a few real-life use cases to really show you what Sticker can do. So, here’s a little rhyme for you:
Protect your passport on a plane
Find your headphones on a train
On your TV remote at home
For your tablet that likes to roam
With your camera on vacation
On your bike to track its location
Slap a Sticker on your charger
Track your gear, won’t make it larger
IDs and badges won’t get lost
Find scooters and skateboards at low cost
You can track your power tools
Keep close tabs on your precious jewels
And if it’s your tortoise that you’re after…
Worry not, you’ll find him faster.
We can’t wait to see how you use Tile Sticker in and outside of your home with all of the things that matter to you. Grab one here and check out our full line-up while you’re at it! And don’t forget to show us how you use your Tile on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #Tileit.