Friday, 6 June 2014

I want a whole-home filing system

Cory Doctorow wrote about a theoretical home organisation system in Makers that was called "Home Aware". You get a lot of plastic tubs to put things away, they use RFID tags to recognise objects and a central database where item locations are tracked. He brushed aside the data entry requirements by saying that they'd have people come in and do it for you, over the course of a day or two. If you're looking for an item, you just ask the database and the right tub lights up. If you want to put something away, you just find a tub with enough space and do it. The RFID reports the item to the database and its location is updated. I would very much like to try that system out, even if it meant I had to keep tagging and adding new items as we buy them or as we put our existing stuff away.

What would be interesting would be the accumulation of metadata - what items come and go from which tubs most often, what hasn't moved in six months and might be worth selling or giving away. An item that's gone missing - not being seen in any tubs for a while - can be flagged so people can look out for it. You don't even have to do all the data entry yourself. You could tag new items quickly with a new RFID sticker and they can be registered and tracked until you have time to do the data entry later. If the tubs have cameras, they might be able to take adequate photos of new objects, too, to help. If you link the system up with your friends and family, not only could you search to see if there's something you can borrow or lend to them, but you could see if you left anything behind at their place when they put it away.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Frustratingly, I can't seem to find anyone talking about this or any similar home organisation systems online.
PPS - I thought I saw a reference to one some time ago, but I can't find it.

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