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New system uses RFID tech to keep track of your ... socks?


September 26, 2012

BLACKSOCKS founder Samy Liechti, extolling the virtues of Smarter Socks

BLACKSOCKS founder Samy Liechti, extolling the virtues of Smarter Socks

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If you’re someone who can afford really fancy socks, then it’s entirely possible that you might not want to “lower” yourself to the act of going into a store to buy them. That’s why Switzerland’s BLACKSOCKS started its Sockscription system, in which users regularly receive premium new Italian socks by mail. It doesn’t stop there, however. The company is now offering Smarter Socks, which communicate with the user’s iPhone to deliver the, um ... ultimate sock-sorting experience.

Each individual sock comes with an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip attached to the cuff. Stored on that chip is the sock’s unique ID number. The Smarter Socks system also includes an RFID scanner, and a free iPhone app.

After a load of the socks have been washed, the user (or their maid, perhaps) scans the chip on each sock. The scanner sends the data by Bluetooth to the iPhone, which is running the app. That app proceeds to tell the user how old the sock is, whether it’s for the left or right foot, how many times it’s been washed, and which sock is its partner. Once its partner is located and scanned, the app updates the number of washings for the pair.

One thing that isn’t immediately clear, however, is how the user is supposed to pair the socks back together. The app may tell them the ID number of a given sock’s partner, but will they remember that number when they see it, several socks later? Presumably, that’s been addressed.

The Smarter Socks scanner

Something that has been addressed is the problem of disappearing socks. Should an individual sock go AWOL or get destroyed, the app allows its partner to be newly-paired with another single sock. Thank goodness.

Also, as any goth will tell you, black clothing has a way of fading to dark grey over repeated washings. The Smarter Socks app has that covered, with a Blackometer function. Using the iPhone’s camera, it measures the “blackness” of an individual Smarter Sock – or of any black sock, for that matter. It then tells the user if the sock is still black enough to wear, or if doing so will make them look like a commoner.

A starter kit, consisting of ten pairs of calf socks and a scanner, is available now for US$189. More information on the system is available in the video below.

Source: BLACKSOCKS via Ubergizmo

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Sweet!! Developement of important items such as this is what is going to keep technology plodding along, ever forward at a snails pace.


Truly absurd. Only a fool would spend money on something like this.


It may sound silly, but for some users, some applications...wow!

(Privacy conerns aside...)

For example...for color-impaired vision uses, I can see a use where they can put RFID tags on socks, and shirts, pants, ties ... and have the app help select a color-coordinated outfit.

Or, for seniors with, say, Alzheimers... when a user wanders off, the remaining clothes can be compared to a database and the app could tell searchers what clothing was being worn. For that matter, having RFID chips could make the senior much easier to locate automatically (again, raising privacy concerns, of course).

Hey, maybe it will provide a way of finding where those "lost" socks really went! :)

Stan Sieler

re; Hey, maybe it will provide a way of finding where those "lost" socks really went! :)

Stan Sieler

On July 23 2147 Norman Ray in Ogden Utah will be crushed to death under a 270 tonne pile of mismatched socks that fell out of a subspace disturbance. The town people will be quietly pleased by this especially his wives.



This is an awful idea. RFID chips? As if we're not already overexposed to radiation, in 'smart' meters, in our appliances, wifi, cell towers, power lines, cell phones, cordless phones, body scanners, and so on. We are swimming is a sea of electromagnetic radiation.

We're bioelectric beings and all this EMF garbage penetrates our tissues and affects cell membrane permeability ad a host of other biologic reactions. Electrosensitivity is on the rise. This is not safe and it is not wise. Especially to match a pair of sox. Lets keep it simple, people!

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