Idea: Grocery Inventory

So, while down in San Francisco, I picked up a touchatag rfid reader at Java One (had a really nice conversation with the developer to boot). Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten it working as of yet (Linux support is….. yeah and that is what I am running at home these days). But, I did have a really neat idea at the time involving rfid and inventory.

Basically, if you could tag your groceries with RFID tags and turn your cupboards into an RFID reader, you could have a running inventory of what if in your cupboards. Tie that into a web app, and you could access this inventory from say… your iPhone while at the grocery store. No more accidentally buying yet ANOTHER 1L tub of peanut butter when you already have one at home. Something similar to this has already been done here, which reminded me of my original idea.

Of course, currently tagging your foodstuffs with RFID now would be somewhat expensive, but the system can still technically be done using barcodes. As any Mac users might know, the web cam can be used as a barcode reader. Obviously, other web cams can become bar code readers as well. You could take a cheap netbook , mount it under your cupboards (assuming foodstuffs are kept in overhanging cupboards) and use it to scan in/out everything in your cupboard. Same effect achieved. Bonus in that you could use the laptop for other things in the kitchen, such as displaying recipes, listening to music, etc.