Google and Levi’s talk Project Jacquard, their all-new smart fabric

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Google is stepping into the world of smart fabrics with the introduction of “Project Jacquard”. The tech giant is partnering with Levi Strauss & Co, the clothing manufacturer known for Levi’s denim, to make conductive yarn that will be weaved into garments–from our jeans to our jacket. The goal is to enable touch and gesture interactivity so we can do things like press our sleeves to turn a light bulb on or off, and activate our phones to make a call (as the concept video below shows).

It’s one-way communication, but it’s so embedded into what we wear it’s completely unobtrusive. In fact, whether you like the idea of the functionality at this stage or not, it’s the first true example of what might end up really being “wearable technology,” and that’s because the result looks exactly like the clothes we already own. That was a point Paul Dillinger, vice president of innovation at Levi’s, drove home when speaking at the Fashion Tech Forum in New York last week. He was joined by Ivan Poupyrev, technical program lead at Google’s Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) group.

Head on over to Forbes for the full story highlighting the four big things they talked about: this isn’t a gadget, creating something people want to wear, why Levi’s, and scaling up.