Estimote's stickers let you add tiny sensors to just about anything

Estimote Sticker on a flower pot

The problem with the internet of things is that you often have to buy expensive add-ons or replacements to get all those clever sensors; you may not want to buy a bike computer just to track your rides. If Estimote has its way, you won't have to. Its new Sticker beacons let you graft wireless sensors on to nearly any object, giving it location, motion and temperature data that you can check through apps. You can figure out the length of your last bike trip just by slapping a sticker on the frame, or find out when your flowers need watering by using an augmented pot. Estimote even pictures stores using the tags to automatically cue up product info on a nearby screen, so you could find out whether some hot new shoes come in your size just by taking them off the shelf.

Right now, you have to be a tinkerer to make use of the stickers. Estimote is taking pre-orders for a $99 Dev Kit that includes 10 beacons, and you can't exactly run out and find supporting apps; you'll have to write your own in the short term. You should see them in the wild soon after testing wraps up, though, as the company is already partnering with big names like Behance (Adobe), Cisco and the Guggenheim Museum to make the Sticker technology a practical reality. It may not be long before you can add some smarts to many of your belongings without breaking the bank.