At this weeks Google I/O conference, Google announced Project Jacquard, an effort to develop touch sensors that can be seamlessly integrated into textiles. The idea is intriguing and could play a very large role in wearable technology in the future! The word “Jacquard” is a term related to loom weaving, referring to the added control mechanism that makes possible the automatic production of unlimited varieties of pattern weaving. It is perhaps one of the most important technologies in the sphere of textile creation. Project Jacquard is an effort by Google to create a yarn that is comprised of both fabric and conductive threads. A traditional automated loom can then be used to integrate the yarn into textiles. The conductive threads allow the fabric to be touch sensitive and understand where you are touching the fabric. This special fabric could be imbedded into textiles used for clothing, home decor, or even the seats of your car. The technology that drives fabric is housed on a circuit board slightly larger than a button.
The idea of integrating touch sensors into clothing isn’t new, but being able to seamlessly integrate it with a yarn that can be used in a loom is. Creating a yarn that can easy be utilized by any designer is wise; Google recognizes that while they can develop technology they are not clothing designers. As such, they have announce a partnership with Levi’s. No word on when we might see a jean jacket the allows you to answer your phone by swiping your arm, but we will let you know when there is! Head past the break to learn more about the tech!