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Developers can now try on Google’s Jacquard smart fabric tech

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The company released an SDK to hopefully keep the tech relevant

Swiping into new ideas
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google’s Project Jacquard touch-sensitive fabric technology, first revealed at Google I/O in 2015, now has a way for interested third-party developers to integrate the tech with their own software via the new Jacquard SDK.

Previously only a handful of companies signed up for Jacquard, including Levi’s, Samsonite, and Yves Saint Laurent. Now developers can use the SDK to integrate the Jacquard tag, connecting its sensors with their apps to communicate touch and motion data.

Samsonite Konnect-i
Samsonite’s Konnect-i backpack is one of very few products to integrate the touch-sensitive fibers.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) team announced its first partnership with Levi’s in 2015, and put Jacquard technology into customers’ sleeves two years later with the 2017 release of Levi’s commuter jacket.

We thought the jacket was neat but also pretty expensive with a price that started at $350. Two years after the initial 2017 drop, Jacquard got redesigned into a smaller tag and integrated into another line of Levi’s products at a lower price. The 2019 release of the Jacquard and Levi’s trucker jacket was a solid update on a shaky idea, which has historically been a prelude to Google sunsetting things.

It remains to be seen how well outside developers will embrace Jacquard, and how much support they can expect from Google. The FAQ section of the SDK site only asks one question: “Can someone add new abilities to the official Jacquard app?” to which Google responds in short: “No. The current Jacquard app remains as built.” Thankfully, the release of an SDK means that Google ATAP can hand off what seems to be their burden child and give Jacquard a fighting chance to prove it can do more than just skip your music tracks.