Google will weave Internet into your jeans with new Levi’s partnership

Jeans maker Levi’s will partner with Google to weave the Internet into textiles, transforming sweaters, jackets and jeans into a new kind of mobile device.

Scientist and product designer Ivan Poupyrev from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, or ATAP, and a Levi’s fashion designer announced the new Project Jacquard on Friday morning during the second day of the Google I/O software developer conference.

Levi’s is the first of what Google hopes will be many fashion partners on the new technology that embeds touch sensors into clothing.

“This is a very different experience from programming,” said Poupyrev, describing the new interactive textiles as “soft, flexible computing.”

Named after a French weaver known for his mechanical loom innovations at the turn of the 19th century, Project Jacquard relies on using standard looms to weave a conductible yarn that is hard to distinguish from traditional cotton, polyester or silk textiles but also contains thin, metallic alloys.

“The goal of Google’s Project Jacquard is to confront the historical limitations of wearable technologies by decoupling the touch interface from the digital device,” said a statement Thursday from San Francisco-based Levi’s. “Jacquard makes garments interactive — simple gestures like tapping or swiping send a wireless signal to the wearer’s mobile device and activate functionality, such as silencing phone calls or sending a text message.”

Along with revealing Jacquard, Poupyrev and other ATAP researchers introduced another project called Soli. Describing it as “our first gesture radar small enough to fit in a wearable,” Poupyrev demonstrated how radio frequency sensors could detect tiny, precise finger motions to control a device, such as to set the minutes on a digital clock.

Above: Project Jacquard, shown here in an exhibit at this week’s Google I/O software developer conference, is a new partnership between the search giant’s ATAP research division and fashion giant Levi’s to create interactive, Internet-connected textiles that can be controlled through touch sensors. (Photo by Matt O’Brien)


Tags: , ,


Share this Post

  • whoa, big bro nat’l (in)security ghouls gonna bug our pants toooo?

  • Chris Tubutis

    I wonder how the TSA feels about this