At last year’s I/O Google and Levis announced a partnership to bring smart clothing to the masses through Project Jacquard. The first proof of concept is a smart jacket.
According to the website, Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard industrial looms. “Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces. The yarns combine thin metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns such as cotton, polyester or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom.”
Following up on the partnership, Google’s Advanced Technology and Products, or ATAP, showed off the Levis Commuter smart jacket with Jacquard tech built in. A Jacquard tag that interacts with the cuff button is embedded in the jacket sleeve. Users can touch the sleeve while cycling to answer and reject calls on their phone. The technology has also been developed to work with apps such as Google Maps, Strava and Spotify.
As seen in the demo, a simple swipe along the sleeve adjusts volume while a tap changes the track. Another gesture showed viewers how to get directions from Maps. In addition to it being technologically proficient, Levis wants wearers to treat the smart jacket as any other garment it makes. Don’t worry if you get the jacket dirty because it can be washed normally. Just remember to remove the Bluetooth cuff first.
It is expected to launch early next year, and is definitely a project we’ll keep eyes on.