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Google's New Wearable Plan: Turn Everything Into a Wearable

Google's newest moonshot: Wearable clothes.


Turns out, Google’s promise to unveil a wearable to “blow your socks off” was just that: Wearable clothes.

On Friday, the second day of Google I/O, Google’s futuristic research lab announced a micro-sensor that reads hand movements and can be woven into textiles, turning any garment or piece of furniture into a connected device. In short, it makes a smart socks, smart pants, smart everything.

Ivan Poupyrev, the technical project lead of Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects group, introduced the new technologies. “Today, we have our first gesture radar that is small enough to fit into any fabric,” he said. “A radar in your hand.”

And he was wearing it, too. Poupyrev sported a cream-colored suit equipped with the multi-touch textile sensors ATAP invented, an initiative they call Project Jacquard. “It’s a jacket come to life,” Poupyrev quipped.

Last year, ATAP introduced itself with a trio of initiatives: A 3-D scanning tablet, a modular phone and a digital storytelling platform. After the wearable radar, the division has seven unannounced projects. Regina Dugan, ATAP’s chief and the former head of the Pentagon’s research group DARPA, described its mission as doing “epic shit.”

ATAP will release an API for the micro-sensor later this year, Poupyrev said. The first partner for Project Jacquard is Levi’s.

Yesterday, Google announced Brillo, a new operating system for connected devices, which will arrive soon.

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