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Google's Project Jacquard To Introduce Touch Sensitive Clothing
Google announced Project Soli, which is a radar-based gesture technology aimed at connecting devices such as smartwatch. In addition, the company's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) has also introduced Project Jacquard that aims at bringing interactive clothing.
Like motion sensing, wearable textiles are nothing new, but Google has advanced the ball by bringing them past the realm of prototypes and into the realm of commercial viability with Project Jacquard, which it has partnered with Levi's to bring to real garments.
The new technology allows touch panels to be woven into conventional fabrics, using conventional textile manufacturing processes.
Wearers will interact with the smarty pants much like they would with a touchscreen. A series of taps could turn smart lights on or off, a circle gesture could cue the next track on a smartphone or a downward swipe could hush a ringing phone during a meeting.
"The idea that Jacquard is an interface blended into the clothing that we're wearing has implications in the way you would use sensors, products, applications and anything that we do with our technology," said Joao Wilbert, creative technologist of Google Creative Lab in London.
Such an interface would push "technology out of the way" and it'd make interactions with electronics "more natural and more seamless," he stated.
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The conductive yarns are spun from metallic alloys and natural materials, including cotton and polyester. The alloys enable them to pass along impulses to the sensors, which pass along the input to smartphones.
The technology hasn't made it out of development just yet, but Google on Friday offered demonstrations of the smart threads at Google I/O, its annual developer's conference, and encouraged attendees to start cooking up ways they can build on it.