Project Tasca: Enabling Touch and Contextual Interactions with a Pocket-based Textile Sensor

We present Project Tasca, a pocket-based textile sensor that detects user input and recognizes everyday objects that a user carries in the pockets of a pair of pants (e.g., keys, coins, electronic devices, or plastic items). By creating a new fabric-based sensor capable of detecting in-pocket touch and pressure, and recognizing metallic, non-metallic, and tagged objects inside the pocket, we enable a rich variety of subtle, eyes-free, and always-available input, as well as context-driven interactions in wearable scenarios. We developed our prototype by integrating four distinct types of sensing methods, namely: inductive sensing, capacitive sensing, resistive sensing, and NFC in a multi-layer fabric structure into the form factor of a jeans pocket. Through a ten-participant study, we evaluated the performance of our prototype across 11 common objects including hands, 8 force gestures, and 30 NFC tag placements. We yielded a 92.3% personal cross-validation accuracy for object recognition, 96.4% accuracy for gesture recognition, and a 100% accuracy for detecting NFC tags at close distance . We conclude by demonstrating the interactions enabled by our pocket-based sensor in several applications.