Google’s touch-sensitive fabric technology Project Jacquard is back with a new product – the Cit-E smart backpack – a touch-sensitive shoulder strap for controlling a connected smartphone. Built in collaboration with fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, the Cit-E backpack allows the user to control things using four gestures on the touch-sensitive area on the front of the left shoulder strap: swipe up, swipe down, double tap, and covering it up.
Google first debuted Project Jacquard, a smart fabric initiative to create gesture and tap-connected wearables without screens, back in 2015, reports CNet.
In 2017, Commuter X jacket debuted. It’s a Google-powered smart denim jacket that lets users control music and phone functions just by touching the fabric.
Now, the search engine giant is planning to build a bigger wave of Jacquard products, starting with this smart backpack. The discreet Jacquard Tag connects your physical things to digital services and information. It’s connected via Bluetooth and communicates with the Jacquard app.
You can personalize your things by selecting the Abilities you want to use. The more Jacquard services are added, the more your things become uniquely yours.
“Our ambition is simple: to make life easier. By staying connected to your digital world, your things can do so much more. Skip a song by swiping your sleeve. Take a picture by tapping on a shoulder strap. Get reminded about the phone you left behind with a blink of light or a haptic buzz on your cuff,” says Google.
Google’s Soli – a new sensing technology that uses miniature radar to detect touchless gesture interactions – hasn't debuted in any product yet. But the two platforms could eventually fit together down the road. “It's in the realm of possibilities, we're thinking about it all the time,” Ivan Poupyrev, Google’s technical projects lead told CNet’s Scott Stein. “I don't know how much speculation I'm allowed.”
The Cit-E backpack is available to preorder from Yves Saint Laurent’s website for US $877.