Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Division, better known as ATPD is reportedly working on the Project Jacquard. The project revolves around creating technology that can turn your clothes into touch-sensitive and gesture-interactive fabric. The conductive yarn will let the designer create the sensitive areas and add sensor grids, wherever it is needed.
The announcement was made at Google I/O and got us all exciting. According to the mini site, the technology can be used by anyone, without much background needed in electronics. Like a blank canvas, it could be added to any fabric to make it Jacquard-enabled. This smart yarn is made of thin alloys and fibers like silk or cotton making it stronger and lending it a natural feel to weave with. The best part, you cannot tell the difference between the smart fabric and traditional yarn. The interactive surface can be achieved by embedding Jacquard onto the furniture.
This developer-friendly platform can be integrated with any industrial loom to weave magic. As developers will have access to the services and apps of Jacquard fabric, expect a plethora of natural fibers along with Google-made communication protocols, electronic components, cloud services and custom connectors.
The circuit it is built onto is minute like a button on your jacket. The gestures and touch data which the smart conductive fabric is captured and translated with the help of machine-learning algorithms, something which is the stronghold of Google. The data is then transmitted to the connected phone or over the network to carry a range of function and commands such as to turn off the light or increase the temperature. It can also be used to connect to an app or access phone features. Yes, just by the flick of your hand on the clothes you are wearing!
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The manufacturing of electronic component is said to be cost-effective.
Slowly yet steadily wearables are heading towards where they should be. It is not that they aren’t having their share of the goof ups but the prospects look good wherein the connected world might be the as seamless as we want it to be.