Ever left home without your wallet or traveled on business only to find you forgot your cell phone charger at home? Leaving or losing a belonging can be an inconvenience and in some cases a costly incident. AT&T Labs is developing a solution in conjunction with AT&T's Emerging Segments Organization that could eliminate those panic-stricken moments altogether.

How did the Idea Hatch?

AT&T Labs researcher Don Henderson was at the pharmacy one day when he left his driver's license on the counter. Henderson drove around for days without his license before he finally realized that it wasn't in his wallet. After thinking back, he came to the conclusion that he must have left it at the pharmacy several days before and returned to find out that he was right. If he had been pulled over or needed to show his license for another purpose in those days, he would have found himself in a tough situation. That's when Henderson realized that there should be a service that would allow people to tag their important items and be reminded when they have left something. After his incident, Henderson began pulling the first version of a prototype that was then demonstrated to the Emerging Devices Organization (EDO). The group was excited by the idea of tagging personal items and decided to submit Got My Stuff to be funded under the Innovation Pipeline (TIP) Fast Track. TIP is a crowdsourcing and collaboration tool that can turn employee ideas into actual products and services. After securing TIP funding in partnership with the EDO, researchers moved forward in developing this technology.

About the Project

Got My Stuff, uses small, inexpensive RFID tags to label your personal items and then alerts you via mobile device or in-car display if you've forgotten something. The system is also destination aware — meaning you can program frequent stops and associated personal items — like shin guards and cleats for soccer practice or your photo ID and cell phone charger for the airport.

The Future

The current prototype is being built to trial on real consumers. In the near future Labs researchers envision many applications for this technology, including:

  • Car dashboards. Building this technology into a car's dashboard is one future application for Got My Stuff. The service will be incorporated into the car by manufacturers, so that the experience is seamless and convenient for the driver.
  • In the home. Beyond the car, AT&T Labs researchers are also looking at ways to use this same concept to help people find stuff they have lost in their homes.
  • Location enabled. As more and more GPS-enabled devices come to market, Got My Stuff will be able to locate those devices too.

About the Researchers

Dr. Alicia Abella is Executive Director of the Innovative Services Research Department, where she manages a group of multi-disciplinary technical staff specializing in data mining, user interfaces, IPTV, mobile services, SIP/VoIP technology. In 2009, she was recognized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute for her contributions in the area of green technology. In 2008, she became a member of the elite group of AT&T Science and Technology Medal award winners. She was also a recipient of the 2008 Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement.

Dr. Abella has helped serve to increase the pool of women and minorities in science by serving as Vice President of the Young Science Achievers Program and chair of the AT&T Labs Fellowship Committee. Dr. Abella holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Columbia University, a M.S. in computer science from Columbia University and a B.S. in computer science from New York University.

Don Henderson is a Principal Member of Technical Staff in the Innovative Services Research Department at AT&T Laboratories Research, Florham Park, NJ. His past work has included research in a number of areas such as laser physics, photolithography, OCR and machine learning, pen-based computing interfaces and IP-enhanced and VOIP telephony services.

His current interests include Human-Computer interfaces, music and entertainment applications, web and social applications, mobile applications and 'helper' devices. His current research focuses on creating new applications, systems, services and devices — that assist, enable and empower people in new ways.

Kevin LiKevin Li is a Researcher at AT&T Labs, working on new and innovative ways of interacting with mobile devices. Li is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. His research encompasses mobile computing, novel interaction techniques and Ubiquitous Computing and Human Computer Interaction. Li received his PhD in Computer Engineering from University of California, San Diego and his BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.

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