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Project Jacquard

Project Jacquard: ATAP's touch-sensitive fabric is coming to a Levi's jacket
Project Jacquard

Project Jacquard: ATAP’s Touch-Sensitive Fabric Is Coming to a Levi’s Jacket

Project Jacquard is Google’s venture to weave touch controls into textiles. Developed by Ivan Poupyrev, and designed within Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP), this gives textile manufacturers the ability to add to a braided conductive thread similar to the kind used in touch screen enabled gloves.

These conductive threads or touch-capacitive sensors can be used in any existing industrial loom. Manufacturers just couple it with a Bluetooth controller running on a standard watch battery kept in a dedicated pocket, and any piece of cloth operates like a touch screen. These Jacquard structures combine metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like silk, cotton or polyester. They are indistinguishable from the traditional yarns that are used to produce fabrics.

Just imagine a pair of jeans in which you can tap the fabric and control your smartphone, adjust your home’s smart lights, send messages and more. In other words, your pair of jeans or jacket turn into a natural, ambient way to interact with your electronic devices without actually having to give them your full attention.

Your clothes however aren’t the only possible applications, as a couch arm rest can wirelessly control your TV, a set of curtains can adjust your smart lighting, a pillow will be able to control the volume on your stereo, and a table cloth can control all the appliances in your smart kitchen. In fact, many everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces.

These electronic components are extremely discreet, and they are attached to connectors and tiny circuits, no larger than a small button on a jacket.

Google says the production of Jacquard components is cost efficient, and the yarns and fabrics can be manufactured with standard equipment used in mills around the world. According to Google, one loom can generate as many different textile designs as there are people on the planet.

The Levi’s® brand is the first partner Google joined forces with to create and bring interactive Jacquard garments to consumers. Levi’s has built its reputation over the last 150 years by continually designing and creating products that meet a consumer need. The heart and soul of Levi’s® apparel is denim, a sturdy iconic fabric that has been the foundation of the Levi’s® brand since it was first introduced in blue jeans in 1873. The Levi’s® innovation team and Google teams joined forces to create a modern version of denim that is interactive and yet authentic, remaining true to the century-old tradition of denim manufacturing.

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Credit photo: https://atap.google.com/jacquard

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