If my favorite jeans could tweet right now, I might actually know what happened to them after they got thrown into the laundry hamper. And if they had an embedded radio-frequency identification device then I might even know where they are.
Those idle thoughts aren't just the product of my frustrations over missing jeans — they have some roots in reality.
Yes, RFID-enabled "smart" clothing isn't a far-fetched concept or pipe dream, but instead it's technology that you may have already encountered in some ways: According to BBC, a "number of stores, among them major retail chain Wal-Mart, have started using RFID tags to enable employees to quickly check the stock by scanning items on shelves, and to track products more easily from manufacturing to the final delivery."
The way this setup works is that those little RFID tags use radio waves to send information to devices used by store employees. Those devices in turn send the data to an inventory system. And tada! Someone can create a database which shows exactly where each individual item is located.
Now take things a step further and throw in an Internet-connected gadget into this arrangement.
You'd then have clothing items (or other objects) which automatically post messages about their locations. And this wouldn't even be such a crazy idea considering that there are already GPS devices which automatically tweet where you're going and when you arrive.
Now I realize that one of your first thoughts might be to panic. What if that shirt you bought last week has an RFID tag and is secretly telling everyone where you are? What if your shoes are tweeting where you've been walking?
Well, stop freaking out. As BBC's Katia Moskvitc points out, the RFID tags on items you purchase are supposed to be removed or disabled at the cash register. Yes, there could be slip-ups, but the odds of that happening and someone who knows how to capture and decrypt RFID data noticing aren't terribly great.
This means that if you're like me and wishing that your pants could notify you of their hiding place, you'll have to wait a bit longer — until RFID-embedded "smart" clothing becomes common among us silly consumers instead of being just another way for stores to speed up their inventory process.
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