Google may enter wearable game with smart fabrics

Google has its fingers in just about every pie in the technological game, but it hasn’t made much of an inroad into wearables just yet. It has talked about smart contact lenses and it’s helped push Android Wear forward to let others develop life changing wearables for the marketplace, but it has yet to release any of its own products. Even though that’s still not happening, we may be moving towards a time when it will – but it won’t be wrist mounted.

Google has just recently unveiled a new product it’s been working on called Project Jacquard. It’s a fabric with conductive fibres throughout that are hooked up to certain sensors. That way it can have direct skin contact all over the wearer’s body for the purpose of data collection, without the need for bulky mounting systems which have the potential to cause injury during impacts, which are common place in sports and athletics.

In-fact, Google says that its sensory fibres are so thin that they can be woven into any garment, so this is likely to be something that Google sees added to compression vests and other training equipment in the near future.

While most of the stats that the new system purports to track – heart rate, steps, distance travelled and calories burned – are very typical, one area which is not is the ability to detect muscle effort. That’s huge, as it opens up the potential for wearables to track so much more than distance activities. It could track press-ups, weight training, wrestling, boxing or just about any other activity you can think of and when combined with smart software, it should be able to figure out what activity that was and give you data on it based around your own exertion.

smartfabric

Theoretically, when combined with an extensive testing of a person’s fitness, the software backbone of this new sensing suit could give detailed break downs of performance improvements based on strength, conditioning and stamina.

The only downside to the system may be cost. A full suit of Google’s new tech costs around $400 (£261) while in comparison, slightly bulkier competitors are around half the price. Of course Google’s system is more detailed and has the potential to be a lot more impressive when combined with a decent software solution, but for now it’s the expensive flash toy that nobody has quite figured out what to do with yet.

As these sensors are added to real products from other companies too, expect its usage to explode among professionals and from there, end users will come on board as the price comes down.

[Thanks Fool]

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