We've all forgotten about food in the refrigerator, and ended up having to throw it away. Well, Chicago-based startup Ovie is setting out to keep that from happening. Its Smarterware system keeps tabs on what's in your fridge, and reminds you about things that aren't getting used.

A basic Smarterware set consists of a sealable container, a clip and a strap, each one of which is equipped with a rechargeable electronic tag. When you buy perishable items such as fresh produce, you either stick it in the container, or apply the clip or strap to it.

Next, you let the Smarterware app know which tag has been assigned to which food. This can be done verbally using a smart home hub (if you have one), or by accessing the app directly on your smartphone.

From there, using the app, you can check the freshness of each food item. This is based simply on the type of food and the date on which it went in the fridge, and not on any actual sensing technology. You will also receive reminders – on your phone or from your smart hub – about items that should be used before they get too old, including tips on dishes you could make with them.

Additionally, the tags themselves will visibly let you know how long the foods have been in the fridge. A light ring around the edge of each tag starts out green when the food is fresh, turns to yellow when it's older but still edible, then goes red once it shouldn't be eaten.

Smarterware is currently being showcased at CES. Plans call for the product to be the subject of a Kickstarter campaign beginning this spring (Northern Hemisphere), with shipping estimated to take place in the fall. Pricing should start at US$60 per set.

Source: Ovie via IEEE Spectrum

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