Researchers working on smart fabric that can recognise the food on the table

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on October 26, 2020 Published on October 26, 2020

Interactive fabric system is based on capacitive sensing technology

Researchers are working on developing a smart fabric system that can detect an object based on touch.

A team of researchers from Microsoft Research, Dartmouth College, Wuhan University and Southeast University are working on developing such a system for interactive fabrics. The researchers recently presented their studies at the User Interface Software and Technology Symposium 2020 event.

They demonstrated Capacitivo, “a contact-based object recognition technique” developed for interactive fabrics. The system is based on capacitive sensing technology.

The current system focusss on detecting non-metallic objects upon touch which includes food, different types of fruits, liquids, and other types of objects.

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To demonstrate this technique, they created a prototype composed of a 12 x 12 grid of electrodes. The prototype was made from conductive fabric attached to a textile substrate.

They then used a 10-person study to evaluate this system using 20 different objects. The technique displayed a 94.5 per cent accuracy rate in recognising these objects.

Possible applications

The researchers also presented eight different scenarios where such a system can be applied. For instance, creating a table cloth that recognises the food that you put on the table.

They developed a system that used a smart speaker to remind a user if they have left an important item on the table for too long.

Another possible application demonstrated was an interactive pocket on a jacket which senses if Airpods are left inside the pocket or a table cloth that can fill in the payment details directly when you place your credit card on the table while you shop.

Though the project is still underway researchers are now working on improving the fabrication system and the accuracy of the technique, especially in recognising liquids. They are also looking to find a better hybrid technique along with capacitive sensing that can help recognise metallic objects in the future.

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Published on October 26, 2020
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