Google, Levi’s Partner to Create Smart Clothing, a New Type of Wearable Tech
SAN FRANCISCO, May 30 (UPI) — Fashion trends of the future might have more to do with connectivity than runways, and Google knows it.
The company’s Advanced Technology and Projects division (ATAP) and Levi’s are working to create clothing that connects to mobile devices using special, “smart” yarn that transforms textiles into touchscreens. That means not only clothing, but furniture, house decor and even car seats would become extensions of our devices.
“If you can weave the sensor into the textile, as a material,” ATAP program lead Ivan Poupyrev said, “you’re moving away from the electronics. You’re making the basic materials of the world around us interactive.”
Named Project Jacquard, the initiative is essentially the production of a new, conductive yarn that can be woven through any textile to make it connectable to other technology. Although the technology is not new per se, the project’s website says it aims for worldwide production of “smart” clothing, as their yarn — woven with metallic alloys — is strong enough to use on industrial looms.
Imagine silencing an incoming call from a jacket sleeve, scrolling down a contact list using a lapel, or skipping a song by tapping on a jean pocket — Project Jacquard says it’s possible.
ATAP announced the project Friday at Google’s I/O developer meeting in San Francisco. No timeline on the project has been announced, but Levi’s head of product innovation, Paul Dillinger, says the development process will may be quicker than expected.