JUN 01, 2015 7:38 AM PDT

Google Wants to Turn Your Clothes Into Computer Input Devices

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Instead of having to lug technology around in your pocket, or in a handbag, technology is currently in the middle of a revolution and is attempting to integrate with the things you wear on a regular basis.

The concept of tech wearables isn't necessarily new. There are plethora of smart watches and headsets, such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass that are currently trying to start a technological revolution. On the other hand, the pioneering that is going into these concepts can be considered huge achievements in the tech industry.

It's important to take note of the fact that we are still in very early stages of the wearable tech revolution. There will soon be a day where we won't even see our wearable tech, but we can still interact with them discreetly.

One of the latest projects going on right now is Google's newly named Project Jacquard, which involves weaving technology right into the very fabric of your clothes.

Soon, your clothes could have technology embedded into them to let you perform gestures for your smartphone.

As announced at the company's recent I/O developer conference, Google is teaming up with Levi, a popular clothes maker, in order to create wearable clothes that have patches of conductive threads weaved right into them that can be used to register gestures from the user that can then be directed at the smartphone of the user to perform actions.

"This is possible thanks to new conductive yarns, created in collaboration with our industrial partners," notes Google. "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."

A lot of thought has gone into the project and making the conductive threads fit into the clothes without standing out too much. They are slightly visible, but mostly blend right into the clothes to a point where no one would even know they were conductive surfaces. They stand out as rough areas that you could drag your finger across to perform a gesture on your smartphone.

The idea is to make almost any surface of your clothes capable of registering gesture, whether it's a button, collar, a patch on your arm, a patch on your chest, or anything else that could be used as an input device.

Moreover, the pieces of tech embedded in the clothing could provide feedback to the user too, such as haptic feedback (or feedback that could be felt), or LED light flashes. This could potentially be used as a way to let someone know they just received a text message, or an incoming phone call.

You can check out Google's official video for Project Jacquard below:



This could produce challenges for washing the clothing since there is plenty of delicate tech in the materials, but there are other ways to clean clothes other than simply shoving them in a washing machine and dryer that could be used to preserve the tech embedded inside of the clothing that could be harnessed instead; possibly one similar to dry-cleaning.

Just think, with all of the crazy technology becoming a reality as we speak, some day you could be a walking, talking computer.

Source: Google

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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