eBay has given a lot of thought to stinky clothing, as evidenced by one of its patent filings. The company envisions a "soiled garment detection and notification" system that will send an alert if it detects a piece of clothing is giving off an odor and needs to be laundered. And it doesn't end there - it sees the system as an opportunity to encourage people to buy new clothes or purchase deodorant.
eBay explains that people may launder their jeans about every six months based on manufacturer recommendations and may never launder certain items, such as heavy winter jackets. And energy-conscious consumers may wear clothes many times before washing in order to save energy, it says.
"Such laundering strategies may cause infrequently laundered garments to become soiled and malodorous, which would otherwise signal the need to launder the garment," eBay stated in the patent. "However, the odor of the garment may not be apparent to the garment's wearer as the wearer may have become accustomed to the smell over time." Zing!
eBay envisions "intelligent garment tags affixed or otherwise associated with garments" - perhaps affixed inside the collar - or a "soiled garment detection apparatus" affixed to a clothes hanger. The detection devices would transmit data, possibly through a radio frequency identification (RFID) device.
eBay's proposed system would detect stinky garb and send an alert:
"The controller uses odor information received from the soiled garment detection apparatus to determine whether the garment is soiled, and therefore in need of laundering. Upon determining that a garment has been soiled, the controller causes a message (e.g., a push notification) to be provided to a device of the owner to remind the owner to launder the garment. Further, the controller may cause a human perceivable alert (e.g., a flashing light) to be provided by the soiled garment detection apparatus associated with the garment to alert the owner of the garment that the garment is soiled."
It would tell the wearer when things got stinky to the point of urgency:
"The urgency with which soiled garments are to be laundered may, for example, depend on the degree to which the odor being released by the garment exceeds the acceptable level of odor. Accordingly, in addition to determining whether the odor being released by a garment exceeds a threshold level for acceptable odor, the analysis module 116 also determines the degree to which the odor exceeds or is below the threshold."
And it would even tell people when their B.O. became out of control:
"Upon receiving sensor data (e.g., from the controller 102) indicating that a particular garment is releasing a large concentration of body odor causing particles, the recommendation module 710 may identify a particular deodorant that will help reduce the amount of body odor causing particles produced by a wearer of the garment (e.g., by making the environment more difficult for bacteria, which ultimately cause the release of odor causing particles, to thrive). The recommendation module 710 may then generate an item recommendation for the garment wearer that includes the deodorant."
Things might even get so bad that eBay would recommend the owner replace their garment:
"Recommendations may be based on a concentration of certain odor causing particles indicated by the sensor data. Such recommendations may include one or more items (e.g., products or services) offered for sale that may replace the user's garments, assist the user in laundering soiled garments, improve an odor produced by the user, or improve an odor released by the garment.
"The recommendation module 710 may identify and recommend a new garment to replace a garment that the analysis module 116 has determined is too degraded for the user to continue to wear."
A handy "Marie Kondo" feature would tell you when to sell your garment (this is eBay, after all):
"As yet another example, the recommendation module 710 may suggest that a user sell a garment that is infrequently worn (as determined by the sensor data corresponding to the garment throughout the lifetime of the garment)."
It's surreal writing about a system that would detect, record and store information about the cleanliness of our clothes and would send us alerts letting us know that we stink to the point of needing to launder them and use deodorant.
There's a funny episode of the TV sitcom Seinfeld when a parking valet has such strong body odor that he stinkifies Jerry's car to the point it's rendered unusable. If only the valet had had eBay's "soiled garment detection and notification