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New Innovations – Could we see this technology making its way into construction?
Levis and Google have collaborated to create an interactive fabric. Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms.
Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces. This is possible thanks to new conductive yarns, created in collaboration with Google’s industrial partners. Jacquard yarn structures combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom. Jacquard yarns are indistinguishable from the traditional yarns that are used to produce fabrics today.
Using conductive yarns, bespoke touch and gesture-sensitive areas can be woven at precise locations, anywhere on the textile. Alternatively, sensor grids can be woven throughout the textile, creating large, interactive surfaces. The complementary components are engineered to be as discreet as possible. Google and its partners have developed innovative techniques to attach the conductive yarns to connectors and tiny circuits, no larger than the button on a jacket. These miniaturized electronics capture touch interactions, and various gestures can be inferred using machine-learning algorithms. Captured touch and gesture data is wirelessly transmitted to mobile phones or other devices to control a wide range of functions, connecting the user to online services, apps, or phone features. LEDs, haptics, and other embedded outputs provide feedback to the user, seamlessly connecting them to the digital world. Developers will be able to connect existing apps and services to Jacquard-enabled clothes and create new features specifically for the platform.
The potential for uses in every sector are huge, but a couple of ideas spring to mind straight away
- Remote keypads for orbital welders woven into their work clothes
- Audible alarm if a worker crosses a barrier into an exclusion zone or attempts to climb a scaffold that has not been inspected
I imagine it won’t be too long before we see technology like this making its way into our industry in some shape or form!