It’s a frustrating experience to lose something, but it’s an even bigger hassle when it’s not truly lost, but rather left behind in a location like an airport or a sports stadium. Just ask my friend Caitlin, who is still waiting to be reunited with the phone she lost at Oktoberfest on September 27th, despite confirming in November that it was in their possession.
While Oktoberfest is an extreme example, it’s not uncommon for people to leave behind various items in hotels, on public transportation, or at events. In fact, the MTA transit system in New York collected over 18,000 lost items between 2018 and 2023, even during the pandemic when most people were sheltering in place. But one startup from Miami believes they have the solution to this age-old problem: AI.
Boomerang, a Miami-based startup, has developed software that uses machine learning to match pictures and descriptions of lost items. Customers, ranging from gyms to theme parks, can upload images and descriptions of their lost and found items while consumers can do the same for their lost belongings. If there is a match, consumers can choose to retrieve their items or have them shipped to their desired location.
According to Boomerang’s co-founder and CEO Skyler Logsdon, this model aims to expedite the return process for consumers and replace the current system of repeatedly calling customer service desks for updates on their lost items.
Losing stuff sucks. It’s even more frustrating when something isn’t really lost, but rather left behind in a location.
- Oktoberfest is a more extreme example, but people leave things behind in various locations all the time.
- The MTA in New York collected over 18,000 lost items between 2018 and 2023, even during the pandemic.
- Boomerang believes their AI-powered software can solve the issue of lost and found items.