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Tag to track down lost specs with smartphone launched by Japanese firm

"Orbit Glasses," a small electronic tag that attaches to a pair of spectacles and helps the user keep track of them, is seen at Epice headquarters in the city of Nagano on Jan. 27, 2021. (Mainichi/Yuichi Nishigori)

NAGANO -- In a bid to reduce instances of people losing their glasses, a retailer in this central Japan city has started selling electronic tags that can help people locate their spectacles using smart technology to communicate with smartphones and other devices.

    The "Orbit Glasses" tag, sold by general goods seller Epice, measures 29 millimeters long, 7.9 millimeters at its widest and 8.5 millimeters at its highest, and can be attached to a pair of glasses with double-sided tape. By connecting the tag to a smartphone through Bluetooth wireless technology, users can locate their glasses by using an app to call the tag and make it ring. The ringer can also be activated with voice command via Amazon's artificial intelligence (AI) assistant Alexa.

    An alarm rings when the Bluetooth link between glasses and phone cuts out, such as by leaving the specs outside and out-of-range of the signal. The place where the disconnect happened is recorded on a map on their smartphone. The alarm can be switched to vibration.

    The electronic tag is part of the "FINDORBIT" system developed by an Australian IT venture company, and comes in two other forms -- one is a card type which can fit in a wallet, and the other a keychain type. Takayoshi Akiba, the 49-year-old representative executive of Epice, was fascinated by the product and his company became an import agent for it. Initial sales of the glasses tags were launched this month, and will be sold until Feb. 27 for 4,886 yen (about $47) each on crowdfunding site "Makuake" at https://www.makuake.com/project/orbitglasses.

    "More and more people have begun using more than one pair of glasses, including ones that cut blue light or ones with magnifying lenses because their eyes are tired from teleworking, which has been increasing during the pandemic," Akiba said. "With people possibly misplacing their glasses more frequently, I think there'll be high demand (for the product)."

    For more information, Epice can be contacted by telephone on 026-262-1924 (in Japanese).

    (Japanese original by Yuichi Nishigori, Nagano Bureau)

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