Google has developed a material that contains ‘conductive yarn’ that they are calling Jacquard. This material can be made into clothes or furniture so that touch or gestures can communicate with sensors and chips that will wirelessly transmit these signals to phones or devices.
The idea is that you can answer a phone call by tapping your sleeve, turn up the TV volume by brushing your lounge armrest or help your sports performance by analysing your movements. Google says the material is, pardon the pun, a “blank canvas” for designers and developers to invent uses for this technology. Users will be able to control the functions of the interactive material through the Project Jacquard app.
On of the first companies to use this material will be Levi’s who are using Jacquard technology in their denim to make a jacket for urban cyclists. Called the Commuter, the jacket allows the wearer to connect to maps, choose music or answer calls, or any of the many things it might be hard to do when riding and using a mobile phone. The hub of the device is in a wearable sleeve clip (pictured) but the cuff contains wires that are used to interact with your phone.
Jacquard is just one of the many mobile hardware projects currently being developed by Google in their Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) incubator – tasked to develop projects from concept to product within two years. The Commuter jacket with Jacquard technology is scheduled for release in the next few months.