TextileSense: fabric-friendly NFC antennas that can be woven into everyday surfaces

Introducing fabric-friendly sensors.


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Near Field Communication (NFC) has growing popularity. It allows humans to communicate with objects. What if this NFC technology can be used in a pillow or a shoe to sense and interact with us?

Scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Laboratory for Emerging Wireless Technologies (WiTech) have developed fabric-friendly NFC antennas embedded into everyday surfaces. Scientists dubbed it as TextileSense: the technology that can track everyday objects made of conductive materials.

Swarun Kumar, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, said, “We achieved this by using multiple flexible NFC coil antennas embedded in ordinary and irregularly shaped surfaces, like furniture and carpets, that we interact within smart environments.”

Project TextileSense
Project TextileSense

Scientists embedded flexible NFC coil antennas in ordinary and irregularly shaped surfaces like furniture, carpets, etc. They then designed and fabricated specialized textile coils woven into the fabric of the furniture and easily hidden by acrylic paint.

Using a near-field blind beamforming system and a data-driven approach, the system can efficiently detect surrounding objects with their location. During experiments, it was found that the TextileSense shows an average accuracy of 3.5 cm in tracking the location of objects.

Kumar said“It was a fun collaboration between material scientists who helped us with the textile-friendly antenna fabrication and a combination of wireless system development and signal processing.”

“Now, we are looking forward to integrating these sensors in our everyday lives, which will contribute to an overall smart environment.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Jingxian Wang et al. Locating Everyday Objects using NFC Textiles. (Paper)


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