ThreadRobe, a startup company located in Virginia, plans to automate the way people store and manage their clothes. Its new automated closet – combined with passive ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID technology, and a mobile app.
“We spent a year talking to consumers to determine what is most important to consumers. Our research found that the biggest pain for users is folding and putting off clothes,” said Christie Schultz, vice president of marketing for ThreadRobe.
The individual user uses the application on his smartphone to enter information about each piece of clothing, including taking photographs so that the system identifies its color. P Matt Powell, founder and CEO of ThreadRobe, said it takes about 30 seconds to identify each piece of clothing. Then, with holding RFID tag on clothing, the user stands in the reading range of the RFID antenna (the RFID antenna is installed inside the closet, but is designed to recognize reading on the outside) so that the RFID tag ID can be linked to the clothing. ThreadRobe uses a variety of UHF RFID readers and antennas.
When an RFID-tagged garment is placed in an RFID closet box, 30 pieces of clothing can be loaded at a time, and the device picks up each piece of clothing through a rubber hook on the robot arm. During this process, the clothing’s RFID tag will be close to the second built-in RFID antenna in the closet so that the piece of clothing can be identified. The RFID closet software will select a storage location that fits the size of the garment and the hook will move to that location. Then, this piece of clothing will remain on that hook until it needs to be removed.
ThreadRobe application can be used when customers need to remove clothes. The application-based data is passed to the closet, and then the clothing attached to the hook (which has been linked to its RFID number) is released at the selected time and steamed at a preset level. Finally, the clothing will be offered to user.