Levi's Gets 2 Legs Up on Wearable Computers

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June 1, 2015

Your clothes will soon be able to house a computer without the machine or the clothes falling to bits. At least, that will be the case if Google and Levi Strauss have anything to say about it.

One announcement to come out of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group is Project Jacquard, which aims to include small computers in such things as clothes and furniture, to enable users to create interactive surfaces. A simple swipe or gesture will transmit information from the shirt or sweater or tabletop to a nearby desktop or mobile computer.

Engineers have crafted an interactive framework by incorporating conductive yarns into common textiles. Sensors are the size of a button. At the other end of the transmission process will be computers designed to receive messages from such interactive wearables. 

The yarns cover a range of colors, so it won’t be one-color-fits-all.

Google has entered into a partnership with Levi Strauss to incorporate the wearable sensors in denim clothes. Google chose Levi’s because they are subjected to some of the harshest treatment in the industry before being put on sale. Levi’s announced a release date of sometime in 2016 but did not specify what kind of clothes would include the devices.

The project is named for Joseph Marie Jacquard, who revolutionized the textile industry with a loom that was since named for him. The Jacquard Loom used a number of punched cards to power the loom. The loom is considered by many to be a step forward in the history of computing. 

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