Project Jacquard, being developed for several years by Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group in partnership with Levi's, can turn any item of clothing into an interactive touch and gesture sensitive garment.
A first jacket, previewed at SXSW in Austin, Texas, based on the partnership's technology is expected to launch in fall 2017, first of all in the USA, retailing for around $350, reports specialist technology website The Verge.
All of this is possible thanks to new conductive yarns. In fact, Google's Jacquard yarn structures combine very thin metallic alloys with more classic, natural or synthetic yarns such as cotton, silk or polyester.
These all have the properties required to make the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom. To the naked eye, the new-gen yarns are indistinguishable from those currently used in the clothing industry and they are washable.
Jacquard yarns can be used to bring touch and gesture interactivity to certain parts of a garment, or even the whole garment. Data can then be shared wirelessly with various connected devices.
Connected clothes bring all kinds of new possibilities for interacting with services, devices and environments. Plus, interactions can be reconfigured at any time, via an application, in relation to the environment or the wearer, for example.
Other complementary components can be used to further enrich this new generation of connected clothing, such as LEDs or sensors, for example.
The project was first revealed in 2015 at the Google I/O conference.