Google’s next ‘Project Jacquard’ with EA and Adidas

Project Jacquard is Google’s vision of embedding computing in clothes, bags and accessories. The idea is to bring touch-sensitive fabric to the mainstream. The software giant first showed the Jacquard fabric at Google I/O 2015.

The first product under the ‘Project Jacquard’ was the smart jacket made by Google and Levi’s. It came with Bluetooth and conductive threads to communicate with a smartphone app. The jacket was expensive at $350, and it never made a splash in the market.


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Printing in color with photoswitchable polymers

Now, Haifeng Yu and his colleagues from Peking University have introduced a photo-responsive element — an azopolymer — that allows the imprinting of nanopatterns in a novel, room-temperature lithographic process.

The team’s new photosensitive polymer contains a structure called azobenzene, which switches between two possible conformations — termed trans and cis — when irradiated with light. Switching between the two leads to a straight or bent configuration, and when attached to a polymer backbone causes mechanical changes, such a hardening, in the polymer.

During the fabrication process, the azopolymer layer was first liquefied using UV light and then used to coat a flexible plastic surface. 

Researchers at Penn State and Purdue University developed new materials for improved single-atom catalysis and future electronics

When bonding noble metals to 2-D materials, interfaces matter

The materials, based on two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) that include disulfides, diselenides and tellurides, have a variety of interesting properties that scientists would like to exploit, especially for next-generation electronics and catalysis.

The team deposited the noble metals gold and silver on the two-dimensional TMD substrates and studied how the metals formed and grew on the TMD surfaces. In every case but one, the metals formed zero-dimensional nanoparticles, as theory predicted. But in the case of silver deposited on ditellurides, the silver formed a single atom layer coating the entire substrate.

Autofocals: Evaluating gaze-contingent eyeglasses for presbyopes

As humans age, they gradually lose the ability to accommodate, or refocus, to near distances because of the stiffening of the crystalline lens. This condition, known as presbyopia, affects nearly 20% of people worldwide. We design and build a new presbyopia correction, autofocals, to externally mimic the natural accommodation response, combining eye tracker and depth sensor data to automatically drive focus-tunable lenses. We evaluated 19 users on visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and a refocusing task. Autofocals exhibit better visual acuity when compared to monovision and progressive lenses while maintaining similar contrast sensitivity. On the refocusing task, autofocals are faster and, compared to progressives, also significantly more accurate. In a separate study, a majority of 23 of 37 users ranked autofocals as the best correction in terms of ease of refocusing. This work demonstrates the superiority of autofocals over current forms of presbyopia correction and could affect the lives of millions.

Astrophotography with Night Sight on Pixel Phones

The amount of light detected by the camera’s image sensor inherently has some uncertainty, called “shot noise,” which causes images to look grainy. The visibility of shot noise decreases as the amount of light increases; therefore, it is best for the camera to gather as much light as possible to produce a high-quality photo.

Sky Processing
When images of very dark environments are viewed on a screen, they are displayed much brighter than the original scenes. This can change the viewer’s perception of the time of day when the photos were captured. At night we expect the sky to be dark. If a picture taken at night shows a bright sky, then we see it as a daytime scene, perhaps with slightly unusual lighting.

This effect is countered in Night Sight by selectively darkening the sky in photos of low-light scenes. To do this, we use machine learning to detect which regions of an image represent sky. An on-device convolutional neural network, trained on over 100,000 images that were manually labeled by tracing the outlines of sky regions, identifies each pixel in a photograph as “sky” or “not sky.”

No more jet lag: Scientists develop wearable technology that will help stabilize your internal clock

The researchers demonstrated a series of algorithms which can analyse biometric information recorded by a smart device, and then recommend the best combination of sleep and light to help a person readjust their circadian rhythm.

Air Card: The World’s Smallest and Lightest Air Purifier


Air Card: The World’s Smallest and Lightest Air Purifier




Air Card is an air purifier that is the size and weight of a credit card. It works without a power source. 

Air Card uses free radical technology formulated in Japan to clean the 5 most common air pollutants 

Air Card produces free radicals continuously, producing the same number of free radicals as trees in a forest.