Google Research

SensorSnaps: Integrating Wireless Sensor Nodes into Fabric Snap Fasteners for Textile Interfaces

Proceedings of UIST 2019 (ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology), ACM, New York, NY


Adding electronics to textiles can be time-consuming and requires technical expertise. We introduce SensorSnaps, low-power wireless sensor nodes that seamlessly integrate into caps of fabric snap fasteners. SensorSnaps provide a new technique to quickly and intuitively augment any location on the clothing with sensing capabilities. SensorSnaps securely attach and detach from ubiquitous commercial snap fasteners. Using inertial measurement units, the SensorSnaps detect tap and rotation gestures, as well as track body motion.

We optimized the power consumption for SensorSnaps to work continuously for 45 minutes and up to 4 hours in capacitive touch standby mode. We present applications in which the SensorSnaps are used as gestural interfaces for a music player controller, cursor control, and motion tracking suit. The user study showed that SensorSnap could be attached in around 71 seconds, similar to attaching off-the-shelf snaps, and participants found the gestures easy to learn and perform. SensorSnaps could allow anyone to effortlessly add sophisticated sensing capacities to ubiquitous snap fasteners.

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