A recent collaboration between Microsoft and a number of different universities has seen the creation of a new smart fabric system called Capacitivo, a type of fabric that can detect different food, drinks, and other objects based on touch alone.
Researchers managed to develop Capacitivo by incorporating a capacitive electrode grid into a table cloth. They then used machine learning to gauge the shape of the item placed into the cloth. The smart fabric is also able to identify different containers, including glasses, bowls, and other house hold items.
Take a look at the smart fabric in action below:
Researchers believe the technology could be used in conjunction with a smartphone application to suggest different meals based on what food items you place on the smart fabric. They also believe it could be used as a helpful reminder, as it could remind you not to forget your glasses, keys, or lunch before leaving the house.
As you would imagine with new technology like this, there is still room for improvement. For example, Capacitivo is currently unable to identify metallic objects. It also struggles to recognise square-edged items like books and credit cards.
Despite these flaws, the idea behind Capacitivo is a good one. The technology could pave the way for a true smart home experience, leaving things like clunky conventional scales and chalkboard reminders in the past.