Wearable tech has certainly come a long way in the last 10 years in my opinion. I remember the first time I saw those sweet sweet L.A. Gear light up shoes and I just HAD to have them. I never got those shoes, but since then we have seen tons of kids shoes light up as well as led's on shirts, workout devices like Fitbit and even just recently the development of “smart fabric” by a company called Loomia that collects data straight from the clothing we wear. With the rise of the “Internet of Things” or IoT, we are seeing more and more connected devices and having fully connected clothing that is durable, consistent, and functional is going to be huge in the next few years in my humble opinion. Follow The ‘Stache as I give you a full look at what Loomia is doing with blockchain, your personal data, and the smart fabric they have created.
It's About “Layers” Donkey!
Typically I talk about the overview of the product first, then dive into its individual parts. For this project I think I will go about things in reverse and it will all make sense why in the end. When it comes to connected fabric, layers are important. Loomia is comprised of a few different layers of technology, but the back bone of what they do relies on the first layer; the Loomia Electronic Layer (LEL). This is the soft & flexible circuit that is embedded into the fabric which is what gives it the ability to measure the environment around it for things like heat & touch. The amount of data that can be collected from this type of wearable is far superior then any smart watch or fitness device and Loomia wants accessing and controlling that data you produce to be simple. I really liked this simple illustration from Loomia's website of how the layers work. This embedded LEL is really what makes the magic happen, but it can't do it all alone, which is where the Loomia Tile comes into play.
Collect The Data On My Own Terms
All that data that is collected through the Loomia Electronic Layer has to be stored somewhere for later use and that is exactly what that Loomia Tile does. This small hardware device is like the universal brain for all your connected clothing and is what collects that data for later use. All the data collected by the LEL is sent to the Loomia Tile for storage until you unplug it from your article of clothing and connect it to the next layer; The Tile Platform. This data sync only happens when you connect your Tile to the Tile Platform and your identity is verified through fingerprint identification. This means that the data that is downloaded it connected to your fingerprint and NOT to a specific Tile device, making them universal devices and not personal devices. The bio-metric identification combined with the subsequent digital verification of one's identity is a huge part of the platform's awesomeness and I will touch more on that in a second.
Managing Your Data
The concerns we have these days with where our “data” is going and who is profiting from it are real. Facebook is a “data sales” company first and a social media site second. They make billions a year selling your personal data while they let you use their platform for “free”. You have no control over where you data goes or how much someone can profit from it. The fine folks at Loomia don't agree with this and it is a defining characteristic of the platform. All the data collected from the LEL that is then stored on the Tile is YOUR data and you have full control over it in every facet of their platform. The data from you Tile is transferred to the Tile Platform desktop application through a USB device and is downloaded into a decentralized and “serverless” P2P (peer to peer) Tile Platform where it is then integrated into a blockchain protocol for data & identity verification. This gives you full control over being able to sell your data to 3rd parties, your favorite brand name, or just keep it for personal use. This blockchain integration process also gives us something else that is quite unique, verifying your digital identity by means of also associating your physical identity at the same time. This opens up HUGE doors for other applications and 3rd parties to build upon and I think what really gives this platform a unique selling point.
The Loomia Data Exchange
The very last layer in the Loomia offering is their Data Exchange. This is where you can sell your data on the open market to various research companies or brands, but thanks to the magic of blockchain tech it is done in an anonymous manner. You sell your data anonymously for “Tile Tokens” which can then be converted to other currencies or rewards from 3rd parties or brands on the Tile Platform. I love this use case for a token in a decentralized platform as many tokens just don't live up to their usefulness, but the Tile Token does just that.
Sewing It All Together!
Now that we see exactly how all the piece of the Loomia system work, here is how it all comes together. Loomia is a smart clothing platform that provides the basis for designers to incorporate a soft and flexible data collecting layer into fabrics that is then used to verify and associate your digital identity to your physical identity and then sell the data you have collected to 3rd parties in a decentralized exchange for a profit in the form of Tile Tokens all while being in full control of the data you produce. This IS the next backbone for smart wearable tech that we have always dreamed of! Think of Back to the Future with those great auto dry jackets and self lacing shoes, but then being able to SELL your data for a profit as well, sounds like the future to me!