The Courier-Mail

Bright idea helps get your lost valuables back

- EMMA WILLIAMS

A LOST underwater camera on a scuba diving trip sparked a business idea for Queensland­er Maree Machin that means lost valuables can be easily reunited with their owners.

“While I knew that the ocean currents would have eventually brought my camera to shore, there was no way the finder could ever return it to me as there was no way of identifyin­g it,” she said.

Ms Machin invented Tractag, a QR-coded device with a unique number that allows lost items to be scanned with a smartphone or entered into the website to reveal the owner’s informatio­n to the finder.

The Tractag comes in two styles – the first is a flat sticker and the second a metal swing tag.

When a user purchases a tag they register their details online and can update them at any time.

The Tractag is available to purchase online and Ms Machin has been in talks with a number of retailers.

Ms Machin trialled the product last year by deliberate­ly losing 20 sets of keys with the tag attached and had a 75 per cent return rate in the first 36 hours.

Ms Machin said initially she was worried some people would be stymied by the technology but trials had indicated this was not the case.

“We had a lady in her 70s pick up an item with a Tractag,” Ms Machin said.

“She didn’t know what to do with it but realised it was im- portant and passed it on to her neighbour who was able to return it.”

Ms Machin, who is a trained psychologi­st said the psychology behind the product was sound.

“When people see the tag they realise the item is important to its owner and they’re leveraged into action,” she said.

 ??  ?? INNOVATIVE IDEA: Maree Machin, inventor of Tractag which comes as a label and a swing tag.
INNOVATIVE IDEA: Maree Machin, inventor of Tractag which comes as a label and a swing tag.
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