What, exactly, was a piece of interactive fabric doing at Google's I/O developers conference? Good question. I don't have a clear answer yet, but I did turn off lights, control music and make shapes dance on a monitor by stroking my fingers over a little square grid of cloth.
Jacquard is another brainchild of ATAP, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects Group, a secret division that came up with bothand the modular phone. Project Jacquard is part of what could be this year's big intriguing new announcement. What I found was a table with three or four interactive stations let people play with the cloth. Basically, it's a like a capacitive touchpad, made of fabric.
But, again, why? Project Jacquard's team who were on the show floor encouraged me to attend tomorrow's session at the conference, where more will be unveiled. The website doesn't reveal much yet. Jacquard seems like a way to continue exploring connected clothing, fabrics and even possibly new materials for electronics. Maybe my shirt could control my home. Or a comfy pillow could browse my tweets.
Google's all about mysterious surprises and experiments. Jacquard looks like this year's wild card.