Microsoft patent could mean smart fabric capabilities on laptops and wearables –

Before the launch of the first Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, Windows tablets didn’t really exist. Till date, Microsoft’s Surface hybrids remain the gold standard for what to expect in a 2-in-1 tablet. One of the standout features of the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop was the Alcantara fabric used on the keyboards.

The Alcantara fabric used on the Surface keyboards is Italian-made and feels like suede. Other than Surface keyboards, this fabric is used in the fashion, interior, automotive and aviation industries.

The Alcantara fabric on the Surface keyboard could become a whole lot more functional in the coming days.

A new patent by Microsoft titled, “Forming Touch Sensor on Fabric”, indicates significant improvements, exploring methods of embedding touch sensors into fabric surfaces.

The patent, first spotted by Windows Latest, describes Microsoft making use of different materials and processes that can make a new touch-sensitive surface other than glass. The new method uses conductive ink and a thin, smooth dielectric structure bonded to the fabric.

Microsoft aims to bring touch-sensitive fabric to many of its devices and even furniture in future. The tech giant could configure the material to interact with apps or connected devices and respond to gestures.

Take, for example, a touch-sensitive surface that allows you to dim the lights or change the temperature of the air conditioner.

However, its worth remembering that this is only just a patent. And, while the prospect of not leaving the bed to switch on or switch off appliances is alluring, to say the least, it’s very likely that this technology may never make the cut.

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