ClothFace: A Batteryless RFID-Based Textile Platform for Handwriting Recognition

Han He, Xiaochen Chen, Adnan Mehmood, Leevi Raivio, Heikki Huttunen, Pasi Raumonen, Johanna Virkki

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This paper introduces a prototype of ClothFace technology, a battery-free textile-based handwriting recognition platform that includes an e-textile antenna and a 10 × 10 array of radio frequency identification (RFID) integrated circuits (ICs), each with a unique ID. Touching the textile platform surface creates an electrical connection from specific ICs to the antenna, which enables the connected ICs to be read with an external UHF (ultra-haigh frequency) RFID reader. In this paper, the platform is demonstrated to recognize handwritten numbers 0-9. The raw data collected by the platform are a sequence of IDs from the touched ICs. The system converts the data into bitmaps and their details are increased by interpolating between neighboring samples using the sequential information of IDs. These images of digits written on the platform can be classified, with enough accuracy for practical use, by deep learning. The recognition system was trained and tested with samples from six volunteers using the platform. The real-time number recognition ability of the ClothFace technology is demonstrated to work successfully with a very low error rate. The overall recognition accuracy of the platform is 94.6% and the accuracy for each digit is between 91.1% and 98.3%. As the solution is fully passive and gets all the needed energy from the external RFID reader, it enables a maintenance-free and cost-effective user interface that can be integrated into clothing and into textiles around us.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4878
Number of pages12
JournalSensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • deep learning
  • human–machine interaction
  • passive UHF RFID
  • textile electronics
  • user interface
  • wearables

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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