Imagine what would happen if you could use your clothes like smartphone with a touchscreen? The possibilities are immense and in order to work on this insane idea Tech giant Google has initiated Project Jacquard. The project managed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) lab will develop smart yarns that will be both touch sensitive and strong enough to be practically woven in any piece of cloth.
The yarns will have thin metallic alloys which will be combined with standard yarn from materials like cotton or silk. The Jacquard yarns can be stitched in either isolated patterns or into the textile as a whole. In its project website, Google said the yarns could be stitched in specific locations or throughout the textile thus creating large interactive surfaces. The conductive yarns are connected to tiny circuits which are not larger than buttons. The tiny sensors can be engineered using machine learning algorithms.
At the Google I/O 2015, the company demonstrated this technology by controlling Philips’ Hue lights. A quick tap on the cloth turned the lights on and off, a swipe to the right gave access to different colour settings and swiping up and down changed the brightness of the light.
To start with, ATAP has partnered with Levi’s; the maker of all American jeans and trucker jackets. The technology could be the easiest way for users to control their day to day devices.