It was almost exactly a year ago at Google’s I/O 2015 when the world was told about a new partnership between Google’s Advanced Technology And Projects (ATAP) and Levi Strauss & Co: Project Jacquard. The aim of this project was to bring smart clothing devices to market using conductive yarn. The obvious first thought when considering this partnership would have been for a pair of smart jeans, but it was announced yesterday that the first product to come out of Project Jacquard is the Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket. Try saying that three times fast.
This new jacket, while called a trucker jacket, is aimed at cyclists. Honestly, the jean jacket really just looks like a normal jacket until you really look closely. The only evidence that this is anything other than a standard jacket is the black band near the cuff of the sleeve, and a patch of stitching that looks just slightly off. That patch is the conductive fabric that was the entire aim of Project Jacquard that enables touch interaction between the jacket at your phone. The fabric allows for various different gestures and actions including touching, tapping, swiping, even holding the cuff of the sleeve to perform different actions. These actions include navigation, music controls, phone controls, etc. The aim is to allow cyclists to perform needed activities on their phone without having to take their phone out while riding. While the patch of fabric controls the interaction, the black band houses the brains to connect the inputs from the fabric to your phone.
The choice to hide the smart aspects of the jacket were a conscious decision. Initial design meetings included a more obvious technological signature, something that screamed “look at me, I’m smart!” Eventually the decision was made to keep the smarts subtle, and let the clothing itself really shine. Most wearables today just seem to stick out with their style and design. Project Jacquard wants to stay hidden, and leave the abilities of the clothing known only to the wearer, at least initially. Maybe most impressive? The entire Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket is machine washable. You’ll need to remove the black strap before washing, but all of the Jacquard fabric can be cleaned without issue.
You can see more about this smart fabric in the video below, and head to the source link at the bottom of the article for a great in-depth look at Project Jacquard over at Forbes.
Are you interested in the Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket? Will you be first in line to get one once they are available next Spring? Tell us what you think in the comment section below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.[button link=”http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelarthur/2016/05/20/exclusive-levis-and-googles-project-jacquard-launch-wearable-tech-jacket-for-urban-cyclists/#4acfa4d569d3″ icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: Forbes[/button]