Commentary

Google's Jacquard Tag Recognizes Physical Gestures -- What Next?

Google partnered with Levi's in 2015 on Project Jacquard to make smart clothing. On Monday the search technology company announced it has strengthened its strategy on ambient computing by building a computer tag (it kind of sounds like the code inserted into websites to track where consumers go) into clothing.

The Jacquard Tag, a tiny computer, aims to make everyday items more helpful, wrote Ivan Poupyrev, director of engineering at Google ATAP, in a post: “… we believe that computing should power experiences through the everyday things around you.” 

The tag interprets movement and inputs this in a customized way to the garments and gear, depending on the brand. Imagine walking past a digital out-of-home screen that senses the tag and triggers an ad depending on your attire. No -- it doesn’t have this capability, yet -- but why not think “what if” for the future.

Today’s announcement, a partnership with Samsonite, adds two new backpacks to Google’s collection of products with the Jacquard Tag. Both developed with Samsonite. The Konnect-I Backpack comes in two styles: Slim for $199 and Standard for $219.

Google initially used this technology in the sleeve of a Levi jacket, so it could recognize the gestures of the person wearing it. Then it built the technology into Cit-E backpack with Saint Laurent. A collaboration with Adidas and EA on a shoe insert enabled its wearers to combine physical play with the EA SPORTS FIFA mobile game. 

The Jacquard app allows the wearer to customize specific gestures to control certain actions. For example, the user can program Jacquard to deliver call and text notifications, trigger a selfie, control their music or prompt Google Assistant to share the latest news. For an added level of interaction, the LED light on the left strap will light up according to preset alerts.

Google says this is only the beginning for the Jacquard platform. It’s about helping people access information through everyday items and natural movements, according to Google. Perhaps it’s also about targeting ads to those willing to wear the tag.

 

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