It’s a marriage of newfangled technology meets classic American style: This morning, at Google I/O 2015 in San Francisco, the tech company announced its exclusive partnership with Levi’s to launch wearable clothing technology next year.
(And no, in this case, wearable clothing technology doesn’t mean you’ll be walking around with screens strapped to your chest—a la Teletubbies or Robert Cary-Williams circa 2001.)
Recently, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team designed a new type of yarn—a “conductive” yarn—that can be woven into fabrics. They’re calling this material “Jacquard.”
These conductive fibers are then woven into a garment as a panel capable of sensing touch, just like a touch screen. Electrical connectors can then be hooked up to miniature circuits as small as a button—and touch registered on the fabric can be signaled wirelessly to a computing device, like a phone or tablet.
Yup, you read that right: soon, your jeans might have touchscreen capabilities—woven into its fibers.
We can’t wait to see how Levi’s uses Jacquard—jeans, jackets, bags, anyone? What would you like to see the high-tech fiber integrated into? I’d love to see Jacquard not only in clothes, but repurposed for kids’ toys, curtains, rugs, and, well, basically anywhere that fabric exists in my life. Imagine the possibilities!