In ConText, a user-friendly and intuitive technology for smart textile surfaces was developed, which makes walls and floors in living areas usable for cable-based power supply and communication.
There are many ways to make living environments intelligent. Thanks to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), living objects can now be networked with each other in such a way that they make our everyday lives easier in many ways. As a rule, however, private households lack nationwide low-voltage and communication connections to install IoT devices such as temperature sensors, microphones or light signals in the desired locations. To supply the systems with power, ecologically questionable and failure-prone batteries or unattractive power cables are therefore used. In addition, the devices require power-intensive and interference-prone radio technologies to communicate with each other.
The ConText joint project aims to develop a flexible, user-oriented and intuitive solution that can be installed easily and without great effort in the home. To this end, partners from industry and research – including the DFKI research areas Cyber-Physical Systems and Interactive Textiles – are developing an IoT infrastructure of smart wallpapers, carpets and textile surfaces, so-called Connecting Textiles. Through these surfaces, IoT devices can not only be supplied with low-power, cable-based power, but also communicate with each other via standardized smart home protocols. The devices can be attached to the Connecting Textiles by the users themselves according to their individual needs, e.g. by simply gluing, stapling or plugging them in. In addition, the electronic textiles enable new, intuitive interaction possibilities, e.g. haptic interaction patterns such as pressing or swiping, which can be used to control and configure the devices.