Wearables

PocketView tech shines LED messages through clothing

PocketView tech shines LED mes...
Among other potential applications, PocketView could alert wearers to incoming emails when their smartphone is inaccessible
Among other potential applications, PocketView could alert wearers to incoming emails when their smartphone is inaccessible
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PocketView can shine its display through thick cotton
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PocketView can shine its display through thick cotton
The PocketView prototypes take several forms
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The PocketView prototypes take several forms
Among other potential applications, PocketView could alert wearers to incoming emails when their smartphone is inaccessible
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Among other potential applications, PocketView could alert wearers to incoming emails when their smartphone is inaccessible
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Although we have heard about "smart" fabrics which could be used in clothing that displays data, it's unlikely that most garments will ever be made of such high-tech materials. The PocketView system, however, shines its display through existing "dumb" textiles.

Currently in development at Canada's University of Waterloo, the PocketView setup takes the form of a flat device with a grid of high-intensity LEDs on its front surface, which fits inside a pocket on the wearer's clothing. The display technology could be built directly into existing devices such as fitness trackers, or it could function as an easily viewed Bluetooth-linked secondary display for an inaccessible host gadget such as a smartphone.

The idea is that when the wearer needs to be notified about things like incoming emails or text messages, PocketView will display the appropriate alerts in the form of low-resolution dot-matrix-style symbols that shine though their clothing. Once acknowledged, those notifications could be dismissed by double-tapping the display through the fabric.

Additionally, by single-tapping the device, users could cycle through displays that offer data such as time of day, weather conditions, fitness stats (while exercising) or navigational left/right arrows that indicate which way to turn while walking. In tests performed so far, PocketView has been able to shine its display through fabrics including thick cotton and polyester, in a variety of clothing and pocket styles.

PocketView can shine its display through thick cotton
PocketView can shine its display through thick cotton

"These are displays that show minimal information," says PhD student Antony Albert Raj Irudayaraj. "That’s good enough if you’re walking or biking, for example, to show basic navigation instructions. Or let’s say you received a message and don’t want to divert attention from what you’re doing. You can peek at the display and see the notification."

A paper on the research is being presented via the online 2021 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. The PocketView system is demonstrated in the video below.

PocketView: Through-Fabric Information Displays | UIST 2021

Source: University of Waterloo

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