You’re driving down the road on a sweltering summer day and you need to crank the air conditioner up to full blast. But instead of reaching for a primitive dial on the console, you simply swipe a portion of your seat’s fabric and the cool air begins to billow out. If you’re a passenger and want to turn the radio up to let everyone know you’re rocking The Darkness at max volume, all you have to do is stroke the fabric covering the glove box and you’ll eventually go to eleven. At home, imagine turning on your TV by tapping a portion of your La-Z-Boy’s armrest.
Researcher Maksim Skorobogatiy of the Polytechnic School in Montreal, Canada is “trying to reproduce the smartphone experience in textile form. We are looking for applications where we can weave in sleek, non-invasive control, avoiding blocks of push buttons.”
Skorobogatiy and his team have succeeded in creating a soft polymer-based fiber that can be woven into fabric. The fiber possesses electrical properties that change, depending on where it is touched, welcoming human swipes, taps and touches. One of the most important aspects of the fiber is that it can be cleaned.
BMW aims to be the first car manufacturer to bring touch-sensitive fabric inside the vehicle. “Touch-sensitive surfaces are a very interesting technology for controlling operations in a car,” according to BMW spokeswoman Melina Aulinger. Perhaps BMW will reveal an updated concept of its touch fabric car interior at this year’s Geneva Auto Show, and TechnoBuffalo will be there to report on it if they do!
Via: [New Scientist]