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Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms.
Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces.
This is possible thanks to new conductive yarns.
Jacquard yarn structures combine thin , metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom.
Jacquard yarns are indistinguishable from the traditional yarns that are used to produce fabrics today.
Using conductive yarns, bespoke touch and gesture-sensitive areas can be woven at precise locations, anywhere on the textile.
Alternatively, sensor grids can be woven throughout the textile, creating large, interactive surfaces.
The complementary components are engineered to be as discreet as possible. The company has developed innovative techniques to attach the conductive yarns to connectors and tiny circuits, no larger than the button on a jacket. These miniaturized electronics capture touch interactions, and various gestures can be inferred using machine-learning algorithms.
Captured touch and gesture data is wirelessly transmitted to mobile phones or other devices to control a wide range of functions, connecting the user to online services, apps, or phone features.
LEDs, haptics, and other embedded outputs provide feedback to the user, seamlessly connecting them to the digital world.
ATAP built a chip that can take the signals from the yarn, which is organized in a set pattern, and interpret the signals from the conductive yarns as people move their fingers over that area.
Google says it is building the whole pipeline to bring this technology to market and to create an ecosystem around it. The team is already working with creatives in the fashion industry. The first partner the company announced is Levis.