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Retrieving Lost Keys on a Beach

We are now in summer, misplacing your car keys on the beach, it may have already happened to you… We sympathize, of course. However, for next time, how do we avoid walking home? Know this: some techniques could help you. Even if they won’t bring your trousseau on a tray…
It’s pretty annoying, let’s face it. You are at home, the beach or work, and you can no longer find your house, car or locker keys. Generally, you move, you get up, go from room to room, search every possible corner of the place where you are. It stresses you, it takes you time, for a result that is not always guaranteed. Dirty story…

Squaring, making lines…

There are several techniques to be useful in the way you search for hidden targets. In scuba diving, for example, to find a lost buddy, divers are taught, during their training, to make a course in the shape of a spiral or to swim by chaining the U to grid an area. Gandhi Viswanathan of Boston University was one of the first scientists to take an interest in this issue in 1999. He and his fellow physicists felt that a person wishing to find a specific object should adopt a trajectory consisting of a succession of rectilinear paths of random direction and length.

Spreading your time…

Moreover, these intermittent strategies are observed in various contexts, says the French researcher: “This is the case in nature. Take animals, for example, they look for food like that, alternating these two phases. At the microscopic scale, too, it is observed with proteins, which look for a target on a DNA molecule in this way…”

From these observations in different environments, scientists have demonstrated, via distinct models and curves with several variables, that it was, in fact, necessary to “spend the same time searching and moving” to optimize one’s research. In other words, “divide your time in half. So don’t hesitate to interrupt your precise search phrases with quick moves. Even if you feel you are “wasting time” on these blind trips, you will speed up the research process…

Some less scientific advice

There are also other solutions, this timeless mathematical but more “down to earth.” The kind of advice given on “specialist blogs” or by anyone who has already had to call a taxi, have their key changed, etc., can be helpful. In summary:

1 – Don’t look right away, but take the time to think (lying down, eyes closed is not bad).

2 – ask yourself what is the logical place of this object (not straightforward on the beach, somewhat useful at home).

3 – Play the film backward (what did I do when I arrived at this place, what clothes did I wear, etc.).

4 – Look calmly, without disturbing the place further or turning everything in your path (it will not help your heart or your key to fall miraculously from a cupboard).

5 – Repeat the name of this object while searching or moving (if you have an auditory memory, this may help).

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