Google outlined its vision for the future of wearables Friday at its Google I/O developer conference, announcing Project Soli and Project Jacquard. The two initiatives are intended to some day make it easier for users to control gadgets like smartwatches or smartglasses.
For Project Soli, Google created a tiny, chip-size radar capable of detecting users’ hand gestures. By simply performing actions like rubbing your fingertips together or flicking a finger up and down, the radar will allow users to control the activity happening on the miniature screens that come on most smartwatches. Google made the radar small enough that eventually we could see it built into new models from smartwatch and wearable manufacturers.
Project Jacquard, meanwhile, is a wearable in and of itself. On this initiative, Google is hoping to mass-produce textiles with conductive materials built in. The idea is that one day parts of our clothing will be able to pick up touch commands in the same way that our tablet and smartphone screens already do.
Both projects come out of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, which is the same department that's also working on Project Tango, an effort to make mobile devices more aware of their surroundings, and Project Ara, which is a smartphone comprised of interchangeable modules.
Though Google did not reveal release dates for either of the new projects, the company has already announced a new Jacquard-related partnership with Levi Strauss & Co., the iconic San Francisco jeans maker.