Google presented woven touch sensors at I/O 15 as part of project Jacquard – embedding electronics in textiles.
This is a really exciting initiative, not some much for the initial component which has been demonstrated before, but because Google has the resources and the challenging mindset to shake things up. Progress in the area of electronic textile components has been rather moribund of late, it is therefore great to see a substantial initiative in this area.
At the I/O event there were numerous examples of conductive thread woven into samples. Also interactive textiles surfaces for visitors to test out. I’m guessing the they are using a capacitive effect to achieve the fabric equivalent of a multi-touch pad. The yarn combines, metallic alloys with conventional yarns such as cotton, polyester, or silk. The material is considered strong enough to be woven on industrial looms. Here are a few photos of what was on show.
Here is an example with what look like vertical threads
A polished video gives the vision behind the project, in particular the goal to get these components to an industrial scale, so we can see them in mass produced clothes rather than bespoke garments.
A video from Slashgear which shows the responsiveness of the touch pad.
A collaboration with Levi’s was announced. This appears to be early days, but Levi’s have a track record in exploring this area, having created, with Philips, the first fashion branded electronic jacket back in 2000.