From: University of Washington
Published October 31, 2017 02:26 PM

How to Store Information in Your Clothes Invisibly, Without Electronics

A new type of smart fabric developed at the University of Washington could pave the way for jackets that store invisible passcodes and open the door to your apartment or office.

The UW 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 Oct. 25 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, associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “You can think of the fabric as a hard disk — you’re actually doing this data storage on the clothes you’re wearing.”

Read more at University of Washington

Image: Using magnetic properties of conductive thread, University of Washington researchers are able to store data in fabric. In this example, the code to unlock a door is stored in a fabric patch and read by an array of magnetometers. (Credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington)

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