Wireless technology and mobile gadgets have made it easier for us to track and control our personal belongings. One of the latest technologies being developed for this market connects not only objects, but also the people who use them. OCHO Pad is a wired-up tray that uses NFC or infrared technology not only to identify keys, wallets, or phones, but also to mediate communication between members of a household.

The system consists of the OCHO Pad (the tray) and battery-free OCHO tags, which are NFC stickers or keychains that attach to ordinary items in order to link them to the system. There’s also the OCHO app to control the whole system, and which includes parental controls.

Tags come in different colors and can be given a unique identity before being attached to any object. Interactivity starts as the tagged object is checked in and the tag ID is read through NFC. The information is stored and sent to the cloud. If any tasks have been scheduled for a given tag – such as reminding the user to plug in their phone at night, letting them know about appointments, or anything else they want to make sure is not forgotten about – the tray will also detect them. Users are then notified via their mobile device.

For users without NFC, there are also infrared sensors on the OCHO Pad, which recognize items.

The system could be particularly useful for busy parents, to remotely keep track of their family members and get some peace of mind. For instance, when a child puts their tagged keys on the tray, OCHO can send a message to the parents telling them their son or daughter is back home.

People who like to track their daily activities can also benefit, as the OCHO Pad allows them to keep a running history of activity for each item tracked. For instance, it can let users know what days it takes longer to get to work or home, so they can plan accordingly.

The app will be available for iOS and Android phones and tablets. The OCHO team is currently fundraising on Kickstarter to make it happen. The early bird US$38 pledge gets the backer one OCHO Mini and five OCHO tags, while the $68 option gets a full-size OCHO Pad and five OCHO tags – when and if they reach production.

The system can be seen in use in the pitch video below.

Sources: OCHO Pad, Kickstarter