Published On: Wed, Oct 13th, 2021

Future electronics could display information through your clothes

It’s been a while since we’ve been promised a huge advancement in wearable tech and saw almost nothing. Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket and earphones in their ears. Some even carry a smartwatch or a bracelet. But what actual technological advancements could we expect in the near future? Maybe a display that could literally shine through clothing? Researchers at the University of Waterloo believe so.

Foldable phones could benefit from PocketView technology. Image credit: Google via Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0)

Pulling out your phone from your pocket doesn’t seem like that much of a hassle. However, maybe sometimes it would be good if some information appeared on your jeans and you didn’t have to pull out your phone to see a little notification. That’s where the PocketView technology could come in. It employs LED lights to display basic information through fabric. Scientists say that PocketView could represent a separate piece of techn or could enhance capabilities of smartphones, pens, key fobs and other common devices.

PocketView is actually quite simple. Several powerful LEDs would shine through the fabric, displaying simple information, such as email or message notifications, calls, weather. Nothing too complex as, obviously, resolution would not be great and we’re not even going to talk about colours. Just basic information.

But why would you want your display to shine through your pants? Well, imagine that you’re biking somewhere and your phone is in your pocket. Suddenly you feel it vibrating and look down to see that you’re receiving a call. If the notification was visible without pulling the phone out of your pocket, you could view it more conveniently. Pulling out a phone while riding a bike could even be dangerous. Furthermore, PocketView could display some basic GPS information, guiding you to your destination.

However, for now researchers are developing the PocketView as a stand-alone device. A wearable piece of tech, which provides you with basic information. But, of course, in the future it could be integrated virtually into any device. Daniel Vogel, an associate professor of computer science at Waterloo, said: “Obviously, we’re focused on the tech and programming side of the invention. But even just as a fashion accessory, it’s something people told us they want. People could use it at clubs or in sports or in so many other ways. It’s such a simple thing but also such a radical idea that has so much potential.”

It is quite a simple technology, yet we can think of many reasons why it would be very useful. It would reduce the times when you need to pull out your phone. It would be particularly useful for small folding phones that hide their screen when folded – a small exterior screen could be PocketView.


Source: University of Waterloo

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