Microsoft Corp. and researchers at Dartmouth College has recently developed a smart fabric with contact-sensitive object-recognition technique called Capacitivo.
The researchers first thought of turning Capacitivo into smart tablecloths and furniture coverings. Their idea was to make such surfaces aware of what has been placed on them and then use that information to provide a service. Putting fruits on a table covered with the smart tablecloth may allow an associated device such as a smartphone to suggest different recipes using that fruit. Apart from detecting fruits, the smart fabric could also recognize items such as earphones and lipsticks. When users left those items on the table, the system would remind users what is left on the table.
The technique involves weaving a grid of electrodes into a cloth attached to a textile substrate. The integrated sensors detect changes in the capacitance of electrodes as they are affected by the presence of an object. The cloth is then attached to a deep learning system and trained to recognize objects.
The researchers tested their idea by creating a 12-by-12-inch tablecloth prototype which they attached to a laptop running the deep learning system. As pieces of fruit were placed on the smart fabric, the system could analyze and display the name of the fruit on the screen. After multiple tests, the researchers found the system has reached 94.5% accuracy.
They suggest that such a system could be used for a wide variety of purposes, including reminding users of objects they have left behind on a table and assistance with planning meals.
Sources: Yahoo, Tech Xplore, Microsoft