Google has been researching the potential of electronic web for years and now it has just presented a new utility that surely many users will find most practical: control the music of the mobile by pinching the cable of the headphones.
It was 2015 when the Mountain View announced that Project Jacquard, an initiative to manufacture smart fabric in collaboration with Levi’s, was starting. As a result of this collaboration, there are already several smart jackets on the market made with tactile and interactive fabric, with which it is possible to carry out various actions on the mobile phone without removing the terminal from the pocket.
In the Big G they have continued to explore the possibilities offered by electronic tissue and have now presented E-Textile Microinteractions, a technology that allows interact with the devices through different types of gestures and touches on the electronic fabric that covers the cables.
“This research focuses on cables, due to their modular use as laces on garments and as wired connections for data and power through consumer devices,” Google explains in an entry on his AI blog.
This technology is based on braiding the fabric, taking advantage of its diagonal interlacing structure of three or more strands of material to enrich the fabric. Specifically, the Google team has developed a helical detection array (HSM), which consists of a braid made with different types of thread: on the one hand electrically insulated conductive textile threads, and on the other cotton threads that are passive support.
Thanks to this braiding pattern, the fabric becomes interactive and is capable of detecting a total of six types of gestures (twist, slide, move, pinch, grip and stroke) as well as recognize the direction and speed of the fingers.
All these parameters allow to configure quite complete controls. As you can see a little higher in the video, one of the prototypes that Google has been working on shows us how this technology allows you to control mobile music through different gestures on the cable, for example pausing the playback with a touch or uploading and lowering the volume by turning the cable to one side or the other.
We also see another prototype that allows you to control the smartphone through the laces of a sweatshirt, and another shows us how to perform different quick actions with a smart speaker through gestures on its cable.
At the moment the E-Textile Microinteractions technology is only a project, but it has proven to be very practical and functional, so perhaps we can find commercial products based on it in the future.