Google is at it again, and their latest project is set to blur the lines between technology and the world around us even further.
By now, most of us are aware of the benefits of wearable technology. Since the Apple Watch landed and turned something that is essentially pretty geeky, into something you can get away with wearing, the world of smartwatches and wearable fitness tech has well and truly exploded.
There is however one slight and unavoidable problem. For one reason or another, they’re just not everybody’s cup of tea.
As usual, the clever bods at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group or (ATAP) think they may have just found the answer. The idea is to literally weave electronics into the fabrics that we wear. It sounds pretty sci-fi, but Google insists that the technology is already here.
In fact, they’ve already partnered up with denim giants Levis to help promote and bring the idea to market. Sceptics beware, this one could be about to send shockwaves through the fashion world.
No funky cyborg upgrades, the main innovation is a thread just like any other textile, woven with special microfibers able to react to gestures much like the trackpad of your laptop. This ‘smart fabric’ has the potential to interact with our devices at the swipe of a sleeve.
Google want to make it clear that this is not just a product, it is a platform. The real trump card and the reason all this matters is because for once, the technology is fully scalable. What this means is that fashion designers, tailors, and industrial machinery all over the world can use the yarn just like any other. There is therefore no real need to adapt techniques or fully understand the technology in order to implement it.
Project Jacquard frontman Ivan Poupyrev wants to make it clear that we should not get caught up thinking of individual uses for the technology, quoting; “Think of it as an awesome denim jacket you buy because you want this denim jacket. On top of that, this jacket can have these amazing capabilities.”
Google is demonstrating that we can wear cutting edge technology that adds to our everyday experiences, with the ability to completely get out of our way when we no longer need it.
Unfortunately it’ll probably be a little while longer until we start seeing smart fabrics on the high street, but it does seem to tell us a whole lot about Google’s vision of the future beyond the search engine.
The promo video to Project Jacquard is everything you’d expect from Google. If you haven’t seen it already. Check it out here.