I’m sure someone already has a patent on this, I just couldn’t locate it. As it stands RFID and NFC tags can be manufactured smaller than a grain of rice (I can find 2mmx2mm pretty easy,) and cost relatively nothing when purchased in mass quantities.
I’ve ruined more of my wife’s clothes in the dryer and washing machine than I care to admit to. This is generally due to them getting wrapped in a sheet and not caught when moving stuff to the dryer, although a couple of times the washing machine component was the culprit because, well, wrong setting.
So, here’s the idea. It benefits the consumer, it benefits washing/drying machine manufacturers, and it’s doable with existing tech.
Small RFID tag in the clothing (in the washing instructions tag if it’s got one) that tells how this particular garment has to be washed and dried. You dump everything in the washer, start it up, it scans through the RFID/NFC tags constantly and if it discovers one that’s not able to have hot water, or it can’t be dried, it makes the appropriate correction.
If the RFID tag has never been seen before and it’s marked as “wash alone the first time” a warning pops up that all your clothes are in danger of turning pink unless you’ve already washed this item before.
No more shrunk clothing.
You think the government is tracking you through your washing instructions? Take the tag off.
That’s where the original idea ended, but there’re other uses such as keeping up with what clothes you wear regularly, I’m betting advertisers would love to have that information to sell you things. Letting you know when an item you wear regularly has a twin somewhere.
Keeping a log of what clothing you haven’t worn in a while “Hey Dave, we notice you’re only wearing two T-Shirts and either no pants or the same pair of jeans for the past five months… here’s a coupon to Old Navy.”
Special settings to warn an operator that an item has to have special treatment.
Further uses – A clothing wand that tells blind people, or tasteless people, when they’ve matched correctly and when they haven’t. Ability to find which closet or drawer your favorite shirt ended up in, scanners in the car that tell you your child left with seven tagged items and has reentered the car with five.