What's Up With All That Fabric On Your Gadgets?

WIRED | 10/13/2017 | Elizabeth Stinson
elio25 (Posted by) Level 3
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Earlier this year, when Microsoft showed off its new Surface Pro laptop, one part of the device stood out. The sleek tablet-PC hybrid was made, predictably, out of aluminum and glass, but its keyboard was covered in a soft-suede like fabric. Alcantara, specifically, the same material used in cars and designer handbags.

“Everyone we showed had the same reaction: Whoa, that’s cool,” says Ralf Groene, head of industrial design for Microsoft devices. “And then some people got concerned. They said, you can't put fabric on laptops; no one puts fabric on laptops.”

Part - Textiles - Consumer - Electronics - Way

For the most part, that's been true. But recently, textiles have begun creeping into consumer electronics in a very real way. Earlier this month, Google showed off a line of products, a few of which were also covered in knitted fabric. Wrapped around the Google Home Mini and Max is a soft polyester-nylon fabric that the company developed from scratch. “Someone described these products as friendly,” says Isabelle Olsson, Google Home’s head of industrial design. “I took that as a compliment, because that’s exactly what we were going for.”

A decade ago that wasn’t so much the case. Apple had just introduced its first Macbook Pro, a boxy laptop milled from anodized aluminum. Dell was selling a bulky, plastic laptops. At the time, companies were invested in presenting their goods as futuristic, not friendly. That’s changed with the slow creep that technology has made into nearly every aspect of our lives.

Today - Companies - Google - Microsoft - People

Today, companies like Google and Microsoft are more concerned with making people feel comfortable around their technology, which suddenly could be found on a bedside table and in the kitchen. The domestication of technology has led to its softening. “If...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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