back to article Purpose of RFID finally discovered: It's for pairing up socks!

The dream of 21st-century man, socks that pair themselves, is almost upon us with special hosiery which can find its mate using only an iPhone, an embedded tag and an RFID reader. The socks come from Blacksocks, and feature a heat-tolerant RFID tag identifying the pair to which the garment belongs. Sadly the iPhone has no RFID …


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  1. It'sa Mea... Mario
    Thumb Up

    "Astute readers will have noticed that if all one's socks are black, and of the same cut, then surely the maintenance of each relationship isn't important"

    Actually no. I used to think like this and brought same style socks for that reason. However as implied by the mention in the article of the apps use of the camera, socks fade, especially black ones, and randomly matching same style black socks will end up with 'pairs' that are very different shades (A slap is waiting for anybody that mentions '50' and 'grey' in reply to this!).

    I like this idea.. does need to be quite a bit cheaper though!

    1. Fatman

      I'll take the bait!

      But, don't you mean 254 shades of grey?

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I'll take the bait!

        0x32 shades, surely?

  2. magickmark


    I am just stunned and speachless at the uselessness of this! O.O

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF

      Oh, I dunno. It's the first time an app has even tempted me to look at an iPhone.

  3. Callam McMillan

    Active Tracking

    I think some form of active tracking device is needed to work out where the socks sneak off to when you can never find one of the pair...

  4. Dr Scrum Master

    Problem Solved

    1. Astarte

      Re: Problem Solved

      I like the M&S idea, then all you'd need would be a smartphone and some image processing software to differentiate colours and positions and, and then and ...

      I feel the 'I'll get my coat syndrome lurking here'. Could have practical applications for the visually impaired though.

  5. StephenH

    Missing socks turn into wire coathangers. It the only explanation for the shortage of one and the surplus of the other

  6. UBF
    Black Helicopters

    From FaceBook to SockBook

    Since most privacy-aware people would never accept carrying an NFC tracking device (e.g. on his ID card/passport), why not devise a way to have the geeks wear them and be proud of them? I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future all kinds of shops gave the socks (or other NFC-enabled clothing items) away as "gifts", since in the long term it would allow the global tracking the owner of the credit card that made the purchase.

    An additional benefit is that sock NFC detectors can be embedded in the floor and not be visible. Sniffing socks has acquired a whole new meaning.

    First thing Monday morning, I'm going to patent a new generation of shoes lined with tinfoil and gain millions by just licensing the patent!

  7. JDX Gold badge

    Good Father Ted reference.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Sock matching

    I just match the Monday sock to the Monday sock - easy

    Scott & Virgil are easy as well.

    OK so I have two weeks of daily socks - different though and some Thunderbird socks but all of mine are pairable

  9. JeffyPooh

    Pairing socks as a metaphor for intolerance and racism

    Anyone that has sorted out the socks after the dryer, they may have noticed that one first picks out the major differences, then the medium differences, finally the most tiny and subtle of differences. Humans tend to interact with each other in the same manner.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course

    The real purpose of RFID equipped socks is clear.

    Require convicted felons to wear them so they can be tracked with "telltale strips" near shopping malls, schools, school runs (the roads and lanes near schools) to enforce the 500 feet rule.

    Probably as effective than ankle tags, and is a halfway house to stop the civil liberties lobby whinging about "uman rights" from an implanted tag.

    Next step, get schoolchildren to wear them to make sure they are where they should be, at correct classes etc.

    1. Harry

      Re: Next step, get schoolchildren to wear them

      Yes, that could save five minutes of valuable lesson time calling the register, or whatever they call it these days.

      Unless, that is, the teachers look up and notice that they are actually teaching to just one person who is being paid 5p per head to smuggle in the smelly socks of the rest of the class.

  11. Cupboard

    a cheaper option

    would just be to employ someone to sort your socks for you.

    Or, indeed, just to buy a different pair of socks every time they need washing!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clip them together..

    Use a Supaclip ( with stainless steel clips.

    When you take a pair off, clip them together, and they'll stay clipped through the washing machine, and tumble-drying. Only unclip them to put them on.

    No more time wasted sorting socks.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Hunks of steel tumbling around my wash/dryer and making a racket such as one has not heard since the good ol' days of next-door metallurgy, your neighbors must just love you.

      Not to mention the joy of finding metal shavings all over my clothes and clogging the filter - brilliant.

      No thank you, I prefer sorting my socks in peace and quiet.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        My wife sorts out my socks

        Saves a lot of trouble, and I can certainly recommend this method as it has many other side benefits that may not be immediately obvious.

        She says it's relaxing, so I'm happy to leave her be.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Clip them together..

      Too much effort

      I'm sticking with day socks!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next week:

    Sock usage of the rich and famous, now available on pastebin.

    Anon, because who else would bother?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just wear tights :)

  15. uncredited

    There's a plastic alternative

    Maybe this would be a better alternative, no metal banging around in your washer:

  16. mark fernandes

    Already done on Big Bang (prior art?)

    Sheldon Cooper already did this for his socks prior to going on a trip (Big Bang Theory)


  17. Geoffrey Swenson
    Thumb Up

    If at the end of week I don't have a match for my socks I put on whatever I can find. Nobody is rude enough to say they noticed and the code I'm writing at work doesn't care so much anyway.

    I've been lately just simplifying this by buying only black socks, so I guess I'm a geek. I don't care, I make a bit more money than most non-geeks.

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