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Microsoft researchers, working with scientists from another of other universities, have recently published a paper on a smart fabric which, through capacitive sensing, can detect which objects are placed on them.
The project, called Capacitivo, uses conductive fabric and a grid of 12×12 electrodes, and unlike prior work that has focused on metallic objects, is able to recognize non-metallic objects such as food, different types of fruits, liquids, and other types of objects that are often found around a home or in a workplace.
By fine-tuning the composition and design of the fabric, they were able to achieve a 94.5% accuracy rate for 20 different objects.
Microsoft proposed when used as a table cloth it could be used to remind users not to leave items behind, when to water plants, track your food intake and a lot more. It can even be integrated into clothing to track the contents of your pockets.
See Microsoft explain the technology in full in their video below:
Find their paper here.