Losing a cell phone is undeniably panic-inducing, which is why UCSB graduates Chris Herbert, Christian Smith, and Tyler Cane invented Phone Halo, a Bluetooth device that keeps users from losing their phones in the first place. The bidirectional keychain sensor sends an alert when you’ve moved a certain distance from your phone, and locks and calls it when you’ve dropped the sensor. The device also reportedly helps track down lost valuables like keys, briefcases, or purses. If the items are separated by a certain distance from the coordinated phone, both ring to alert the user.

The trio came up with the concept during a brainstorming session for a senior project. “We were sitting in Carillo Dining Commons and had come up with one bad idea after the next, when our friend sat down beside us and said he had lost his phone … Then we had an ‘aha’ moment,” said Herbert.

Phone Halo has come a long way since then. The Santa Barbara-based startup recently received the prestigious DEMOgod award from this year’s DEMO conference, which has launched such big names as Tivo and E-Trade. It’s also recently been featured in Wired as well as The Wall Street Journal.

“When you examine the level of competition in terms of companies and products, we are quite honored to receive this recognition,” explained Phone Halo CEO Jacques Habra. “Phone Halo has the product and management team capable of becoming a household name. We are thrilled they chose DEMO to launch,” said Matt Marshall, executive producer of DEMO. “I have misplaced my phone, keys, and wallet too many times. Phone Halo’s solution is both elegant and unique.”

The product, which currently supports the Blackberry, will soon be available at major cell phone retail stores and SkyMall. Phone Halo for Android is set to launch next week, while the anticipated Phone Halo for iPhone will hit stores in June.


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