Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.
We’ve ll been there. You buy $100 worth of groceries, only to have some of it go bad because you forgot about it in the back of the fridge. In fact, the NRDC estimates that Americans end up throwing away 40 percent of the food they bring home.
The solution is simple: keep better track of your food and when it’ll go bad. Smart refrigerators from the likes of Samsung and LG have tried to fix this, but most people don’t have the time or money to acquire a new multi-thousand dollar appliance.
Enter Ovie’s Smarterware. Rather than trying to keep track of your food with an expensive appliance, Ovie puts the tracking in a series of Bluetooth-connected ‘SmartTags,’ little buttons which can be attached to containers, take-out boxes, food clips, etc. Ovie is currently running a Kickstarter campaign with units expected to ship early next year.
You might think that having to tag your food might just make things more inconvenient, but Ovie has a simple solution: voice control. Just tap the button, say what type of food you’re putting away. Ovie uses Alexa right now, but it says it plans to add support for “all smart home speakers.”
Ovie’s app will then remind you when your food is about to go bad and give you suggestions on what to use (Ovie says it limits notifications to once a day). You can also check recipe ideas for how to use the food in your fridge, or even ask Alexa what you should cook.
But more importantly, each button contains a light ring that glows green, yellow, or red to tell you how your food is doing. Green means the food is fresh, yellow means it’s still good but you shouldn’t wait, and red means it’s no good. That gives you an easy way to check how your food is doing at a glance.
For $90 you get three SmartTags. Even if you bought a five packs, that’s a lot cheaper than any smart fridge out there. Granted, I haven’t used a smart fridge myself, so I can’t say whether Ovie’s Smarterware would is technically better, but it’s certainly way more accessible. You can read more about Smarterware over at its Kickstarter campaign here.
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