Gadgets | Technopolis


Stray too far from your phone, and this device squawks, long and loud


February 11 2011
Jonathan Margolis

About this time of year, my insurances come up for renewal – car, house, travel and others – and for the nth time, I get a real, if slight, urge to ask for last year’s premium back as I haven’t claimed on any of them.

This mild, entirely unreasonable sense of having been cheated – I often wonder if I could get better odds on not having a car accident from Messrs Ladbrokes – extends to gadgetry, too. I do find it just a little irritating when things that warn you of things or protect you from stuff don’t get a chance to demonstrate their utility.

So it was with my Swiss Army knife, which I carried in my school bag – those were the days – for years without ever finding a horse’s hoof with the requisite stone in it. Then there was one of the first gadgets I reviewed in the 1980s, the key finder (whistle to retrieve your lost keys). I used to hope I’d lose mine just to try it out. And I’ve been carrying a Startmonkey 200, as featured in Technopolis, in my boot throughout the winter in the hope of the car battery running down. No such (bad) luck at the time of writing.

This excellent new gadget, therefore, offers a new possibility for disappointment – the very real chance that, especially once you’ve bought it, you won’t walk away from home, office, car or bar without your phone. The Zomm, invented by a mom – the charming, if unfortunately named Laurie Penix from Oklahoma – will squawk loud and long in your pocket/purse if you stray more than about 30ft from your phone.

And very well this Bluetooth-powered “wireless leash” works, too. The even cleverer thing, however, is that this beautifully designed and engineered little product has other useful functions, which won’t mean you’re always longing to lose your phone. It’s a remarkably good – considering its pebble-size – little hands-free speaking aide. It can warn you from your pocket if your phone is ringing while hidden away somewhere. And it can work as a personal safety device.

Do be careful not to mislay your Zomm, though. It is suggested that you keep it with your keys. And we all know what happens to those things if you’re not careful.