The creative folks at the Fraunhofer Institute are at it again. This time they've come up with a "smart fabric" capable of detecting intrusions or damage. When such an event occurs, a small chip attached to the fabric emits a signal, which can be picked up and used for whatever purpose, such as sending an alert or sounding an alarm.
According to the organisation's press release, the fabric makes use of "silver-coated conductive threads", so it's going to be more expensive than your average window dressing. Even so, Fraunhofer says the system is compatible with "industry-standard textile-weaving" processes, making it easy to incorporate into existing products. It does stipulate that the minimum size for a material incorporating the technology is one square metre, but you'd think that would cover a majority of uses.
The release remarks that because of its "innocuous" appearance, it's unlikely to grab the attention of thieves. That is, of course, until the professional burglar community wises up, something I'm sure they'd do in an age where we have invisible alarm systems.
It's not going to be the best solution for all occasions and you wouldn't want it protecting something cheaper than the fabric itself. Otherwise, well, the crims might just cut their losses and take off with your fancy new "anti-theft" drapes.