Am I blue? You bet.

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How useful a Bluetooth-capable tool is depends on how you use it. But the coolness factor of a Bluetooth-capable tool isn’t in dispute: It’s waymo cool.

The battery that came with my new DeWalt 20-volt drill has something I’ve never seen before. At least, not on a tool. The battery is Bluetooth-capable, and links to a neat little app on my iPhone. With the app running and connected to the battery, it literally defines coolness in a Zen-like way – I am one with my tool.

Looking at the app right now tells me the battery has more than an 80 percent charge, that its internal temperature is 77 degrees and that its “health” is excellent. I can also set the app to alert my phone if the battery gets low. Likewise, I can get alerts when charging to tell me it’s fully topped off and ready to go, and if the battery temperature gets too high. If that’s all it did I’d be a happy guy, but that’s because of how I work.

If you’re a pro, however, you can do some other neat stuff. For one thing, if you own the tool the battery’s attached to but others use it, you have some handy controls. If the user takes the tool out of range (like, say, into the trunk of their car), you can get an alert. Another function allows you to set the battery so it automatically shuts down if it goes out of range (like, say, into the trunk of a car), making it useless to the “borrower.” You can even set the disable function on a timer if you want to loan it to someone for a specified period of time, after which it shuts down as an “encouragement” for the borrower to return it. By the same token, you can preemptively disable the battery any time you want to prevent unauthorized use.

My gut feeling is that we’ll be seeing a lot of this kind of technology on our tools, and sooner rather than later. I love technology like this, especially when it gives me more control over what I do with the things I use.

You may disagree, but I say bring it on.

A.J.

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