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OCHO Pad: a wireless communications hub on a tray


March 28, 2014

OCHO Pad connects objects to people

OCHO Pad connects objects to people

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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

About the Author
Antonio Pasolini Brazilian-Italian Antonio Pasolini graduated in journalism in Brazil before heading out to London for an MA in film and television studies. He fell in love with the city and spent 13 years there as a film reviewer before settling back in Brazil. Antonio's passion for green issues - and the outdoors - eventually got the best of him and since 2007 he's been writing about alternative energy, sustainability and new technology. All articles by Antonio Pasolini

Thanks for the great article!

Ken Mages

This looks kind of cool but almost too feature specific for me. I think it would be possible to make a more standard platform for the "Internet of Everything" or "Internet of Things".

I would rather have a centralized server/platform that gets basic input from devices and lets me program an action for them. lacking a better example the UI for it would be something like automator.

The centralized platform would receive a notification like "OCHO Pad > key1 > present"

Then using the automation tool I can decide in a more standard way what to do with the info. This way I can connect multiple devices/sensors etc. around the house to the same platform and the cost of the devices themselves goes down because you are moving the intelligence out of inexpensive sensors etc. to a small computer in the home that could also be used for other functions (like NAS or storing images/video etc.).

using the welcome mat that was posted earlier as an example I would be able to know what time I got home and that I didn't set my keys on the keychain for instance. You can combine multiple data points and do cooler things with it. I could have wireless LED lights come on automatically when I come in the door etc.

When you break the pieces into building blocks you can do bigger things.

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