Research Funded By The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Leads To Passwords In Clothing
Want to wear your password on your sleeve? Computer scientists from the University of Washington can make it so. A research team led by UW’s Shyam Gollakota has demonstrated a method for encoding digital data, including ID tags and security keys, into electrically conductive threads that can be woven invisibly into items of clothing.
The digital code is activated by magnetizing the threads, and then can be read out using magnetometers. A report on the data-weaving experiment was presented last week in Quebec City at the Association for Computing Machinery’s User Interface Software and Technology Symposium.
“This is a completely electronic-free design, which means you can iron the smart fabric or put it in the washer and dryer,” Gollakota, an associate professor at UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, said today in a news release. “You can think of the fabric as a hard disk – you’re actually doing this data storage on the clothes you’re wearing.”
The technology blends electrical tricks that have been developed for applications ranging from glow-in-the-dark Halloween costumes to hotel key cards..