Forgot your car keys? No worries, Microsoft’s smart clothes will let you know about it

They’ll notify you if your keys are not in your pockets.

by Flavius Floare

Flavius Floare

Flavius is a writer and a media content producer with a particular interest in technology, gaming, media, film and storytelling. He enjoys spending time in nature and at… read more

microsoft smart fabric

Earlier this summer, it was reported by folks over at MSPoweruser, that Microsoft filed a patent describing an AI backpack capable of guiding you in the right direction when hiking.

Well, last week, Microsoft released another patent that describes a technology called smart fabric that can be used to create smart clothes. Yes, we know how that sounds, but hear us out. The technology is quite impressive and useful, to say the least.

The idea of seemingly smart clothes is not entirely new. For example, earlier this week we covered an exclusive story about Lenovo’s Tab Wear collection, which are clothes designed to go hand in hand with technology.

However, the idea behind the smart fabric technology that would end up in smart clothes is rooted in genuine applicability, as the paper says.

For example, the piece of smart fabric may be implemented inside a user’s pants pocket. The computing system first predicts which object is next to the piece of smart fabric via the fist predictive model. In respose to predicting that the unseen object is not a car key, the computing system may generate a notification, notifying the user that they may have forgotten to bring their car key.

Microsoft’s smart fabric technology: How does it work?

The smart fabric technology can recognize an object or a touch gesture using different types of sensors. Practically, the fabric has two layers.

The first layer has multiple resistive and capacitive sensors. Each resistive sensor is paired with a capacitive sensor. The capacitive sensor is made of two pieces of conductive fabric, and the resistive sensor is made of a piece of pressure-sensing fabric sandwiched between the two pieces of conductive fabric.

The second layer of the fabric has multiple inductive and NFC (Near Field Communication) sensors. Following the same pattern as the first layer, each inductive sensor is paired with an NFC sensor, sharing the same coil. microsoft smart fabric

Using the two layers of fabric, this design allows the technology to detect and respond to different types of touch and object interactions.

As we mentioned earlier, the fabric could be used to detect missing objects, such as car keys, but it can also be used to improve immersion in virtual spaces, among many other applications.

For example, the paper describes a scenario where the smart fabric technology inside a pocket detects a hand inside, while a smartphone is being used, and it automatically notifies the smartphone to switch into a single-hand mode. microsoft smart fabric

In VR environments, mainly video games, this technology can be used to perform multiple real-life actions which could easily translate into virtual actions.

For example, the paper describes a situation where the smart fabric technology improves immersion, allowing individuals to perform specific actions, such as placing a weapon in a specific smart fabric

Could clothes made out of smart fabric be the future of fashion? Hard question, but who knows? In 10 years we might all be wearing such clothes.

What do you think? Be sure to let us know your thoughts on this intriguing technology.

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