At the last Google I/O developer conference, ATAP – Google’s creative division standing for Advanced Technology And Projects – unveiled a whole new project in partnership with Levi Strauss & Co: the Project Jacquard, aiming to transform any clothes into interactive surfaces.
Named after Joseph-Marie Jacquard, the French weaver who invented the earliest programmable loom, Project Jacquard weaves the future of textiles. In partnership with Levi’s, the Google ATAP division created solid conductive yarns that can easily be braided together with fabric fibers – i.e. cotton, linen, silk, polyester – through the same manufacturing process as existing fabrics. Those yarns are then linked to microchips embedded into the garment. This one becomes then a true tactile surface that can wirelessly transmit data and interact with other electronic devices, such as computers, mobiles etc. During Google I/O, Ivan Poupyrev, Technical Program Leader on Project Jacquard, presented a prototype capable of switching on/off a light and a computer, simply by touching a piece of cloth. So promising!
As we said, the manufacturing process won’t be an issue for designers. They will be able to freely decide if they wish the yarn to be obvious or invisible, depending on their creativity. No information is provided yet on the marketing strategy or related costs for those kind of smart wear, but Google’s partnership with Levi’s might suggest the launch of a new kind of jeans quite soon.
Are you ready for wearable technology?
For additional information:
- Project Jacquard official video
- Indoor and Body Navigation Prototype using Low-cost Sensors