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By Devin Coldewey

The future is soft, or so Google believes. A new project and partnership with Levi's, announced at the Internet giant's I/O conference Friday, looks to smarten up clothing by embedding conductive fibers in the material itself and adding super-small computing systems the size of buttons. It's called Project Jacquard, and there's no set goal other than making this stuff work — no next-generation Google Glass or Android for Shirts. The team is working with designers, textile mills and brands like Levi's to make sure that their smart cloth can be used in lots of products and without any change to the equipment and processes used.


It helps that the conductive thread being woven in is as thin as any other thread, and that the computing modules being proposed will easily slip into a pocket — or even a button.

Related: Intel Shrinks Wearables With Button-Sized 'Curie' Computer

So what will these threads and smart materials be used for? It's up to the designers — and maybe you. Unlock your phone by tapping your pocket, skip a track by flicking your finger down your sleeve... who knows? As with fashion itself, the possibilities are endless.