My wife spent a good chunk of the weekend cleaning out our fridge, tossing old, hardened pizza slices, suspicious containers of refried beans (?) and some pasta that was made two weeks back — or was it three?
We wrote about Ovie back in January and referred to it as a “Tile for food” after seeing it at CES. It’s basically a LED-lit tag that you affix to your food to give you a visual cue as to how long a particular item in your fridge will last.
What’s different from our initial reporting is that Ovie now requires a separate Wi-Fi-enabled hub. Originally Ovie tags would talk with Alexa, but the Ovie developers found that Alexa’s gadget skill didn’t work as well as they wanted. It’s a bummer that you now have to take up a outlet and countertop space, but according to Ovie, this is just temporary and the plan is to eventually have their tag work with smart assistants.
Once you affix your Ovie smart tag on to an item, push the Ovie tag and say out loud what the food is, e.g. “lasagne.” The hub hears you and communicates with the Ovie database to see how long that particular type of food will last in the fridge (Ovie pulls its spoilage data from sources like the USDA and FDA). Using Bluetooth the hub loads that information on to that specific tag.
The LED light on the Ovie tag will be green for as long as the food is good, turn yellow when it’s on its way to going bad, and turn red when it’s officially “bad.”
With the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, people interested in Ovie can choose from seven different pledge levels. A limited “Super Early Bird” $35 package gets you 3 Smart Tags and 3 Universal Connectors, which hold the tags and have a sticky backing so you can stick them on an existing container. At the top end, the “Tag Everything Kit” costs $300 and includes 15 smart tags, 9 bowls, 9 Universal Connectors and 6 clips. All product-purchasing pledge levels come with the hub. If funded, Ovie plans to ship in February 2019.
At retail, Ovie expects the 3 Tags/3 Connectors package to cost $90, and a package of 3 tags and three containers to cost $100.
Ovie is among the companies using technology to help fight against the very real problem of food waste. Mimica, for instance offers a more touchy-feely way of knowing when food is expiring by using gelatine-filled labels that get bumpy when food is expiring. But that product will be available first in the U.K.. If I’m looking to bring the food waste fight to my (literal) homefront, Ovie may just be the right option.