I/O is a show about the future of Google, and one of the best places to see what that could look like is from the company's Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP). It's the skull-and-bones, emblem-toting team behind modular smartphone Project Ara, and up until January was in charge of all-seeing 3D tablet experiment Project Tango. Unlike the rest of Google, ATAP is defined by its deliberate want to create and complete projects in short bursts, or else abandon them. It means that there's a constant flow of new products and ideas that could either be the next big thing or end up too complex to make it out the door.
ATAP's latest crop of ideas here at I/O follow that ethos to the letter. We saw touch-sensitive fabrics, tiny radar sensors that can pick up the smallest of hand movements, and a MicroSD card that's actually a computer designed with a dash of subterfuge to keep private data away from phones, computers, or anything else you stick it into. It might be years before we see these things, or maybe we never will. The allure is less about the gadgets though, and more about ATAP's ambitions to get them into our hands, pockets, and even suit jackets sometime in the future.