New technology may shortly change you to get into your home or office with nothing more than your coat, wristband or tie. Scientists at the University of Washington have found a way to make smart fabric, using only conductive thread with no other added electronics.
The team manipulated the polarity of magnetized fabric in cloth patches to encode differing kinds of data, which so far will include 2d pictures and strings of bits, which can store things like passwords. the information can then be read with a standard smartphone using “its built-in magnetometer,” wrote the researchers. They also found out that magnetized fabric will not lose data when washed, ironed or dried. The team developed a glove made of the smart fabric that was able to perform gestures in front of a smart phone with 90 % accuracy. The scientists said that the fabric is used in a variety of accessories, too, like necklaces, wristbands, ties and belts that can then carry data within them.
While the smart fabric patches created by the researchers lost around 30 % of their original magnetic field strength after a week, they were able to be remagnetized and retain at least partial field strength for months. The researchers also note that this new tech has the advantage over RFID technology in that any basic smartphone with a magnetometer can access the data, while RFID tags need specialised readers that fit the tag’s specific frequency within the 120kHz to 10GHz band. “RFID readers can value hundreds to thousands of dollars,” the scientists wrote. “Magnetometers are as low-cost as $0.78, 10000x cheaper than some RFID readers. every magnetized fabric tag price < $0.17. this is competitive with RFID tag costs.”