Collegiate Inventor Tackles The Problems Of The Absent-Minded (AT&T Savings App Contest Entry)

Posted on: June 30, 2012

(Disclaimer: Currently the following product is a work of creative fiction, as much as the author wishes it was real.  This article is also a work of fiction.)

THE SENTINEL, June 30, 2012

Are you the absent-minded, careless, or scatterbrained type?  Do you spend more than five minutes a day searching for the household items you’ve misplaced?  Have you ever spent unexpected money on replacing a lost item?   

If you shamefully answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you can breathe a sigh of relief now. Rachel Hirschhaut, a second-year English and journalism major at Brandeis University and a self-proclaimed absent-minded genius, has discovered the solution to your problems, and it is called Retrace My Steps.   

The iPhone and iPad app, available at the budget-friendly price of $1.99, “uses the latest cutting-edge GPS satellite technology to calibrate the probability of where you might have left your lost item,” Hirschhaut says. 

The app is easy to use, tailored to the thought patterns of young people as well as their older and more forgetful counterparts.  After downloading the app, users can choose a few of the most commonly misplaced items, such as TV remotes, glasses, and car keys, and set their most frequent locations (usually the car, or rooms in their home) in their personalized settings. 

One of our reporters tested the app.  She was given the choice between three of the most common lost items, and pressed the button to choose car keys as her item.  The voice interface, which can be set to sound like any accent or actor’s voice, automatically turned on.  It first asked her if she left them in her purse, the most common and likely possibility, and it was correct.

Retrace My Steps does not protect people from a complete lack of common sense, but it can make daily life a little easier for people who lose things easily.      


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