Researchers have developed a new kind of security system - woven fabric that triggers an alarm when penetrated by intruders. The smart fabric enables the exact location of the break-in to be identified, and is significantly cheaper than other burglary detection systems. This fabric can function as an invisible way to protect buildings and facilities.
The smart fabric was developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin in collaboration with the Technische Universität Berlin and ETTLIN Spinnerei und Weberei Produktions GmbH.
The company in Ettlingen manufactures technical textiles, among other things, and has filed a patent for the innovative fabric. IZM project manager Erik Simon can envision a whole swathe of potential applications, particularly where there is a need to provide protection over a large surface area. “The fabric could be used to implement an entirely novel, invisible security system for buildings,” he says.
Some examples of smart fabric applications? The textile could be laid on the rafters of a roof as an additional layer to the vapor barrier underlay, underneath the tiles. This might be a good solution for museums housing valuable collections, or jeweler’s shops, or banks. An alternative solution would be to integrate the fabric in concrete and blockwork walls, for instance those surrounding a bank vault. Another possibility is to use it as a backing material for floor coverings, in combination with pressure sensors that signal an alarm if an unauthorized person enters the room. “The electric current flowing through the fabric is so weak that it presents no danger to humans or animals,” says Simon.
The smart fabric option also indicates the precise point of entry when triggered. The fine lattice of conductive threads woven into the fabric enables the place where it was cut to be identified to the nearest centimeter.