We are at the peak of wearable technology and Google's new project to turn your clothes into a hi-tech smart interface does nothing to reverse that. Project Jacquard is the latest ambitious idea by Ivan Poupyrev, Technical Program Lead at Google, aimed to make interactive clothing a reality.
Google's ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group as managed to create a way to build a conductive yarn using the same looms and machinery currently used in the textile industry. The team has also succeeded into integrating tiny electronics into textiles. Unlike regular conductive thread, like the kind used in various touch-screen-enabled gloves, this thread comes in any color and can be used in any existing industrial machine. When combined with a small Bluetooth controller, it could give any garment or piece of cloth the ability to pair with other devices and operate like a touch screen.
"Google is working on an ecosystem of apps and services that will let you interact with your phone and other gadgets just by grabbing, tapping, swiping, and touching your clothes" the company announced. "Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms. Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces".
At Google's annual conference I/O, Poupyrev showcased how the new technology works by allowing users to manipulate a 3D image on a screen based on how they touch the cloth.
Google hasn’t revealed how it plans to implement the technology in our everyday lives, but it has disclosed that there will be a partnership with the popular denim brand Levi’s. You can can already imagine yourself in an apparently normal pair of jeans that allows to invisibly control media playback on your smartphone, silence an incoming call, adjust your home's smart lights, send messages, all without pulling out your phone, just by tapping and swiping on the fabric. You’d wear them, right? And you might also want to match them with Google's talking shoes.