The class of 2021 received a special welcoming gift from MIT this year: specially designed backpacks created by Yoel Fink's Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA).
A unique code is woven into the fabric material of the backpack given to each first-year student. Unlike a QR code, this fabric-based coding system is subtle to the eye but immediately recognizable by an app called AFFOA LOOKS. The owner can link his or her backpack to their mobile device and program it to display a song, a cause, or anything the owner chooses to share. Anyone with the app can scan or “look” the bag and receive this information.
Fink is a co-inventor of the tech behind the bag and the CEO of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA). Located close to the MIT campus, the nonprofit institute was recently created through a $300 million proposal backed by federal and state governments, as well as academic and corporate partners, with the mission of creating functional fabrics that deliver value-added services while facilitating domestic manufacturing and economic growth in this area.