Stroke to unlock

If you’re into embedded clothing this stroke sensor is for you. As demonstrated in the video after the break, stroking the threads in a particular direction will create a circuit that senses and, in this case, turns on an LED. The concept uses two conductive buses on the back of a piece of neoprene. Conductive and non-conductive threads are then  added for a furry or bristly finish. When stroked perpendicular to the power buses the conductive threads come together and form a circuit.

For some reason this just seems a bit creepy to us but perhaps that’s only because we haven’t come up with the right application for the technology. We’re pretty sure that a sweatshirt with an LED marquee and a “hairy” back that you stroke to illuminate is the wrong application.

Comments

  1. overengineer says:

    It’d be simple enough to make this “omni-directional” — if you put a circle of conductors of one bus around a single cluster in the middle that was a different signal, stroking the middle cluster in any direction would result in a connection being made.

    Very, very weird sort of input, though, and I can’t honestly think of a use for it myself. Interesting nonetheless.

  2. uptoolate says:

    Duh! A perfect interface method for those new sex-robots, applied to certain areas. However, if you’re more in tune with “bald is beautiful” then you’re out of luck!

  3. LuciusMare says:

    Electronic pets, maybe?

  4. MadHippo says:

    Yeah, I was going to suggest electronic toys. Robot teddy bears and that kind of thing.

  5. CrazyIvanovich says:

    @LuciusMare
    I agree. eKittens that purr when stroked would be all the rage for the kids.

  6. Jambone says:

    Just make a “security” pet/trigger. Stroke it to unlock your door or something like that… NOBODY ever suspects that stiff dog next to your door. Decorative.

  7. sol says:

    Neat project! Not sure where it falls on the Uncanny Valley curve.

  8. brian says:

    @CrazyIvanovich

    It would be a rather peculiar looking kitten, with all it’s fur on end.

  9. TGDdogG says:

    actually, I would think installing this into a doggy door, automatic feeder, or pet entertainment setup would allow the pet to interact with the equipment without human intervention.

  10. julian says:

    Rule 61 in full effect.

  11. anonymous coward says:

    Combine this with the animated tail someone made, and you have the perfect furry suit. Stroke the right way, and the tail wags.

    I’m amazed no one else thought of this already.

  12. Mr. Sandman says:

    a “hairy back” light up sweater probably wouldnt sell, but if you used this to something similar to what they thought of from the movie “Avatar”, with the light up plants that respond to touch, etc, that’d probably go over HUGE!

    have an electroluminacent/LED plant that responds to touch on your desk, or hanging from a “tree”… or floor panels of carpet that light up the area you walk on… that’d be kinda cool.

    just remember me when you create it, id like a small cut ;)

  13. Rodrigo says:

    Well.. i just think to put this like a switch, so you can unlock a system in a diferent place using wireless XD!! just a good idea to inpruve your project…

    sorry the bad english…

  14. “if you’re more in tune with “bald is beautiful” then you’re out of luck!”
    LOL no doubt if theres’s a demand for that a sensor will be invented. Most likely it will first find an application for kids stuffed animals, if it finds an application at all. A cat that will purr when petted, or a wild animal that will snarl. Off hand I can’t think of any use that I could use it for in a project, though it may have applications in alarm systems,but it would have to be more subtle than this porcupine looking thing

  15. shbazjinkens says:

    I have a friend that worked as a guard at an American nuke base during the cold war. They had sensors like this in the grass throughout the fields surrounding the base. A scope would show any disruption in the field, so that any human/animal making its way toward the fence in the night would be instantly recognized regardless of the lighting conditions.

    Would be interesting to see on a football field as augmentation to video, maybe? Alarm systems? Cow trackers?

  16. Stunmonkey says:

    Furries meet the Uncanny Valley.

    Nothing good can come of this….

  17. toodlestech says:

    Haha great post! Picturing stroking the fury hoodie made me laugh.

  18. Anthony P. says:

    How about the monster book from Harry Potter?

  19. Mike says:

    Maybe you can create some kind of self-loading paintbrush

  20. Mike says:

    How about a sweatshirt with an LED marquee and a “hairy” back that you stroke to illuminate…

  21. Taylor says:

    Those who said robotic cat are on the right track…if you think gets mad at you when stroked BACKWARDS. A nice purring if you do it the right way.

    Actually this could be a step in the right direction for tactile sensors for robotic critters. How many animals use their hair as a sensor already(cats whiskers for example).

  22. Derek says:

    You Could Do Some James Bond, Secret Hide Away Switch? Brush to open Secret Chamber, Brush to find hide away gun?

  23. MadHippo says:

    Actually, how about using it as electronic whiskers on a robot – would it be a cheap non-laser/radar way of doing proximity detection?

  24. kevin mcguigan says:

    i think that would make a great home security item. make a rug out of it and when someone steps on it and compresses the threads it could trigger an intruder alarm

  25. really/ says:

    Really? My positive comment was removed? Really? Awkward/stupid…

  26. Seth R says:

    How bout moss that lights up ala Avatar. You could increase the sensitivity and increase the density of nonconductive fibers by using the conductive threads for capacitive touch sensing instead of conductive contact sensing.

  27. naz says:

    hi, thats quite a cool project you have, a very intesting sensor indeed.
    Whilst looking at the video my little saw it and instantly thought of something to do with her knitting/sewing/stiching classes or whatever they are called lol!!

    Her idea is to use this kind of sensor as a subsitute for zips or velco straps etc for pockets and the sort. So a strip of this would be applied to the hem and it unlocks/locks the pocket in some way.

    I could see it as a replacement for a zip on a jacket, you swipe your hand down the middle of your jacket to open it….that would be cool

    please contact me if you are willing to share the design i may be temped to try and make something like this..

    very very cool tho : )

  28. Debbie says:

    We are looking for a device to give feed back for kids with disabilities learning to walk. we want to give them feedback when they put the foot on the ground. Looks like this would be great. We could have sensors on a mat that played a sound when they stepped on it.
    Great idea, thanks

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