According to Wired UK, a Brooklyn-based startup called LOOMIA has developed a material that, when applied to clothing, will allow the wearer to gather their own personal data, and sell it to the highest bidder.
Designed to act as “a drapable, crease-able, stretchable circuit board,” the electronic fabric “is similar to nylon and can be sewn into garments as seamlessly as a care tag.” And when that fabric is connected to what LOOMIA is calling the TILE, it will be able to “gather information as the item is worn.”
“With the tag and its sensors, we know when this jacket is moving, that it’s 20°C, [and] that you’ve worn it seven times this month,” CEO Janett Liriano said, which is both super creepy and also incredibly valuable to clothing companies.
“Fashion brands now have the ability to get real user feedback – stuff they’ve been trying to get from focus groups and surveys for decades,” said Liriano, like how often people wear and wash their clothing. But unlike focus groups and surveys, this data is bias free.
As far as selling their information goes, the people who wear LOOMIA-outfitted garments will be able to submit their data to the marketplace by simply scanning an active TILE with their phone. “Brands will then be able to pay users for their data in LOOMIA’s cryptocurrency tokens… and customers can use these tokens to purchase goods through the TILE app.”
And while this all may sound like the stuff of a far off dystopian future, The North Face and Calvin Klein are already using LOOMIA fabrics. “Technology should be like nature,” Liriano told Wired. “Highly functional and constantly at work without you realizing.”
Or maybe technology shouldn’t be like nature…?
You can read more about it at Wired UK.