Good Thinking

Your old clothes won't donate themselves to charity – or will they?

Your old clothes won't donate ...
The proposed Internet of Clothes would keep unwanted clothing from being forgotten in closets
The proposed Internet of Clothes would keep unwanted clothing from being forgotten in closets
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The proposed Internet of Clothes would keep unwanted clothing from being forgotten in closets
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The proposed Internet of Clothes would keep unwanted clothing from being forgotten in closets

Pretty much all of us have them – the forgotten clothes that we never wear. They really should be sent to charity, if only we could remember to do so. That's why a group at Birmingham City University has created what it calls the "Internet of Clothes." The system automatically keeps track of which clothing items we wear frequently, and makes arrangements to give the others away.

Here's how the technology works – or would work, in practise …

Each piece of a user's clothing is tagged with a small washable RFID (radio frequency identification) chip. An RFID reader in that person's closet detects those tags, every time each clothing item is put away or taken out.

A program on a Wi-Fi-linked Raspberry Pi microcomputer notes which items are rarely used, and sends alerts to the user's mobile device, reminding them of those items' existence. If those alerts are ignored, then the program contacts a local charity, which in turn automatically sends the user an envelope to mail in the clothing.

Alternately, the system could instead post unused items to eBay, allowing users to make some money in the process.

"Perhaps we can even move away from the idea of 'ownership' of clothing, to simply using them as long as we need them," says Mark Brill, a senior lecturer in Future Media, who is heading the project. "When we've worn them enough, the items will pass themselves on to their next keeper to wear."

The basic concept is reminiscent of the existing Smarter Socks system, which uses RFID tags and a reader to help users "manage" their socks.

Source: Birmingham City University via AlphaGalileo

2 comments
Lbrewer42
With all these "wonderful" ideas, does it not occur to anyone that they are building a world similar to 1984 by Orson Welles? " If those alerts are ignored, then the program contacts a local charity, which in turn automatically sends the user an envelope to mail in the clothing." ""Perhaps we can even move away from the idea of 'ownership' of clothing, to simply using them as long as we need them," says Mark Brill, a senior lecturer in Future Media, who is heading the project. "When we've worn them enough, the items will pass themselves on to their next keeper to wear." " Thank you, but I study history. I realize the blood shed by my forefathers to allow me the privilege of owning personal property. I woik for it, I pay for it, I own it. What I do with it is my choice. Whether or not I only wear it once a year on special occasions is my own business. I don't need extra spam in my life such as, "This is Goodwill reminding you again about your gray suit. You have only worn it once this last year." What next? If we decide to rip up the clothing and use it for rags, then the RFID will call the clothes police for destruction of public property? Go ahead - make a way to track every single aspect of your life and share it with everyone else. communism thrives in such an environment. But history proves socialism and communism can only work if you have perfect people in it - all willing to give and take only as needed. This has NEVER happened - the very existence of war - which will never end - proves this. Study history. Quit being a commie puppet and finding new ways we can be monitored. If YOU want to live in a fishbowl, move to another country where the people yearn for the freedoms/priviledges our US forefathers died to give us.
pwndecaf
Gee, perhaps if they said you would opt in, Lbrewer wouldn't lose sleep over an idea. It really isn't socialism or communism but helping out if you wish to.