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Google ATAP: Project Jacquard (detail)

Work / Digital

Google has worked out a way to integrate touchscreen technology into textiles

“What I find fascinating about textiles is that their structure is the same as that of the touchscreens that we’re using in everyday mobile devices and tablets,” the founder of Project Jacquard Ivan Poupyrev explains at the beginning of this film from Google ATAP, shortly before he blows our minds. “That means that if you replace some of the threads in textiles with conductive threads, you should be able to weave a textile which can recognise a variety of simple touch gestures, just like any normal touch panel you have on a mobile phone.”

It might sound like something from a Will Smith film set in 2027, but as it turns out, touchscreen technology integrated into textile materials isn’t some space-age fantasy, it’s happening right now. Project Jacquard marks the first step towards “making computing invisibly integrated into objects and materials and clothing,” and contrary to all of my assumptions, this film from Google actually makes it seem really cool.

Ivan and his team have developed a highly conductive yarn which can be woven into fabrics and materials and then used to create garments, as he explains in the film, thereby developing “an interface blended into the clothing that we wear.” It’s only the very tip of the iceberg, but Project Jacquard marks the beginning of a fascinating technological development, not to mention a wealth of puns about “seamless interactions” (wahey!). Nothing has been said about the washing guidelines yet, but watch this space folks.

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Google ATAP: Project Jacquard

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Google ATAP: Project Jacquard

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Google ATAP: Project Jacquard

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Google ATAP: Project Jacquard

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Google ATAP: Project Jacquard