Project Jacquard

The idea of slipping sensors and controls into clothing isn't exactly new — you'll read stories about it every now and then. Connected workout clothes for monitoring your heart rate or other vitals without having to wear a wristband or chest strap. Or maybe you're just talking a hoodie with built-in Bluetooth. Whatever.

Google's Project Jacquard takes things to a new level, basically turning your clothing into a touchpad.

Project Jacquard demoGoogle's ATAP — Advanced Technology And Projects — is the force behind the likes of Project Tango and Project Ara — has been showing off its latest endeavors this week at Google I/O, including the new Project Soli, which uses a miniature radar to track hand movements. And Project Jacquard fits right in that same sort of future tech, building touch-capable sensors into fabric.

The demos at Google I/O include swiping on fabric to control some Philips Hue smart lights. A tap turns them on or off. A swipe up or down increases or decreases the brightness. Swipe horizontally to change the color. Never mind the application, it's the idea that's impressive. As is the response time, basically the same as if you swiped on a traditional touchpad on a phone, or maybe more like the trackpad on a laptop computer.