Forget face scans, your clothes could soon be your new passcode
A team of researchers has come up with a new type of smart fabric that could pave the way for jackets that store invisible passcodes and open the door to your apartment or office. The University of Washington computer scientists have created fabrics and fashion accessories that can store data, from security codes to identification tags, without needing any on-board electronics or sensors.
As described in a paper presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST 2017), they leveraged previously unexplored magnetic properties of off-the-shelf conductive thread. The data can be read using an instrument embedded in existing smartphones to enable navigation apps. “This is a completely electronic-free design, which means you can iron the smart fabric or put it in the washer and dryer,” said senior author Shyam Gollakota. “You can think of the fabric as a hard disk — you’re actually doing this data storage on the clothes you’re wearing.”
Most people today combine conductive thread – embroidery thread that can carry an electrical current – with other types of electronics to create outfits, stuffed animals or accessories that light up or communicate. But the UW researchers realized that this off-the-shelf conductive thread also …read more