A blanket that detects its own orientation

If you want to capture a 3D model of a physical object, you could use a Kinect, a couple of lasers, constructive light, or even a simple touch sensor mounted on a robotic arm. Those are all expensive devices, and somewhat unnecessary now that you can just throw a blanket over an object and get a 3D model instantaneously.

The project is called IM BLANKY and it’s supposed to reproduce 3D shapes by simply throwing it over an object. The petals in the flower motif are pieces of conductive fabric that serve as contacts for the electrified tassel in the center of each flower. When the blanket is thrown over an object, the tassel is pulled by gravity, makes contact with one of the six conductive petals and sends a tilt switch to a microcontroller.

While we’re not too sure about the resolution IM BLANKY will provide with only 20 tilt sensors, but we imagine this could be used for a few medical applications.

via dvice


  1. George says:

    Or you just use a few iPhone images:


  2. Isaac says:

    Article says it has 104 sensors?

    Very interesting concept as well. I’d love to see it in action

  3. Marcus says:

    98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104. Yes, 104.

  4. Hirudinea says:

    If this blanket were made of plastic instead of a comfy poly-cotton blend it could be used with a vacuum forming table as a kind of primitive 3D scanner.

  5. gman says:

    If this is domfy enough it could be used to monitor apersons sleep patterns based on their movement during the night.

  6. mindbleach says:

    Surely some bend sensors would be more reliable and accurate.

  7. bogdan says:

    Accelerometers could provide better resolutio and might be cheap enough.

  8. mike says:

    Constructed light isn’t a thing. The term you’re looking for is Structured light.


  9. Grant says:

    When I read the headline and saw the pic, what I was hopping for was that the special pattern on the blanket was read by a camera(s) and turned into 3d information. Don’t know why that popped into my head.

  10. I don’t even care if it works well or not–it’s so gosh darn pretty! High-tech Art Nouveau…

  11. Chris says:

    Good art. But poor tech.

    And even worse psychobabble: “IM BLANKY is a self modeling blanket exhibiting primitive cognitive capacities.” Riiiiight…

  12. Laura Harris says:

    Hmmm- so maybe with such low resolution it might be better as a ‘security blanket’ that you could toss over something and if anyone moved the blanket, even to look under it, it would signal an alarm.

  13. tuseroni says:

    if they wanted to make a blanket to be used for 3d scanning they should have used silk, which as ancient prudes have noted “leaves little to the imagination” poly cotton blend is more stiff and adds more of it OWN shape, silk or even fake silk is more loose and takes more of its shape from what its covering.
    never the less its quite pretty, looks great

  14. Christian says:

    Medical applications? Care to expand on this thought?

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