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Google working with Levi Strauss to make smart clothes

Google announced that it is working with US jean maker Levi Strauss to make clothing with touch-screen control capabilities.

tech Updated: May 30, 2015 12:59 IST

Google announced that it is working with US jean maker Levi Strauss to make clothing from specially woven fabric with touch-screen control capabilities.

The Internet titan revealed its so-called Project Jacquard and his partnership with Levi Strauss in its annual developers conference in San Francisco.

Named after a Frenchman who invented a type of loom, Project Jacquard is in the hands of a small Google team called Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP), which is different from the Google(x) lab that developes big-vision innovations such as self-driving cars.

"We are enabling interactive textiles," Emre Karagozler of ATAP said as the smart fabric was shown off in an area set up to look like cloth coming out of a loom.

"We do it by weaving conductive threads into fabric. Conductivity can be limited to desired parts of fabric or spread across entire cloth," Karagozler said as people controlled lights or computer screens with finger strokes on a blue cloth covering a table in the display area behind him.

This stretchable and washable cloth is appatently just like normal fabric.

Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms, according to Google.

Conductive yarn is connected to tiny circuits, no bigger than jacket buttons, with miniaturized electronics that can use algorithms to recognize touches or swipes, ATAP said.

The data can be sent wirelessly to smartphones or other devices, enabling actions such as making phone calls or sending messages with brushes of fabric.

Levi Straus's head of global product innovation, Paul Dillinger said,"In our hyper-digital world, people constantly struggle to be physically present in their environment while maintaining a digital connection."