Advances in Wearable Sensors: Signalling the Provenance of Garments Using Radio Frequency Watermarks

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Nov 20;20(22):6661. doi: 10.3390/s20226661.


There is a significant nascent market for ethically produced products with enormous commercial potential around the world. A reliable method to signal the provenance of products is therefore critical for industry, given that competition based on price is not a viable strategy. The ability to trace and signal ethical treatment of animals is also of significant value to textiles manufactures. The efficacy of such a method can be measured with respect to the cost of implementation, scalability, and the difficulty of counterfeiting. The key to traceability is to win the trust of the consumer about the veracity of this information. Wearable sensors make it possible to monitor and improve the management of traceability and/or provenance. In this paper, we introduce a method for signalling the provenance of garments using radio frequency watermarks. The proposed model consists of two levels of authentication that are easy to use by legitimate vendors, but extremely difficult to imitate or hack, because the watermark is built-in and based on the radiation signature of electroactive materials.

Keywords: chipless RFID; garment; provenance; radio frequency; smart textiles; traceability; watermarks; wearable sensors.