Google is constantly challenging the limits of technology, and today the annual developers conference proved that point. Google announced a partnership with Levi Strauss to develop smart clothes, a project known as Project Jacquard. Let’s just hope they do not turn out to be beauty and the geek pants with a built-in keyboard.
The project name refers to the type of yarn that is being created to support the tech. According to Project Jacquard’s website:
Jacquard yarn structures combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom. Jacquard
yarns are indistinguishable from the traditional yarns that are used to produce fabrics today.
Using conductive yarns, gesture-sensitive areas are woven into a textile, the connected to electrical components and small circuits. What’s great about this yarn is no special equipment is needed by clothing manufacturers for production, making it much more achievable–the Jacquard yarn can be used for any standard industrial loom.
But what about the other electrical components? Google explains that these components will be engineered to be as discreet as possible. Google has been able to make the components so small that those wearing the clothing will not be able to tell that it’s there. Currently, Google has been able to create connectors and circuits smaller than a button you would find on a jacket. Initially, I thought the conductive yarn would be thick and extremely noticeable on the piece of clothing. Luckily, this is not the case; with the design knowledge Levi provides, the Jacquard yarn is disquised
Check out this video to learn more about Project Jacquard:
The use of this type of technology is exciting and will open doors to a whole new world to clothing manufacturers. With it, instead of picking up your phone every time you need to text someone or get your Clash of Clan attack in, you can stay where you are and simply use the touch pad on your clothing.
With this technology developers will have a new opportunities open to them. Google has stated that developers will be able to connect existing apps and services to the Jacquard-enabled clothing. Google also plans on creating custom connectors, electronic components, communication protocols, and cloud services to help developers create functionality for the clothing.
This technology cold become extremely useful in the home as well. I could see implementing a touch sensitive textile on furniture to control televisions, computers, and, of course, your tablet or smartphone. If you’re anything like me you lose a remote at least once a week. If they can do away with my remotes, I will be sold!
What are your thoughts? Would you purchase Google’s smart clothes? Do you think that smart clothes are even needed? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.