Project Jacquard is a division within Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects(ATAP) group, and its main motto is to transform everyday objects like clothes and furniture into interactive surfaces. Google partnered with Levi’s to bring interactive Jacquard garments to customers.
The first ever product of this project is “Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket,” and it seems like a first truly practical piece of wearable tech. And Levi’s brought the jacket to SXSW this week in Austin, to showcase it.
Project Jacquard uses conductive yarns to manufacture the fabrics, and these yarns are indistinguishable from the traditional fibers. Using these threads, touch and gesture sensitive areas can be woven at select locations, anywhere on the textile.
Users can swipe, tap or hold on the left cuff of the sleeve to adjust music volume, change music tracks, silence a phone call or get the map updates. The commands received through touch and gesture inputs are then transferred to mobile phones wirelessly via a bluetooth attachment present on the left cuff.
Per Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation for Levi Strauss & Co: “Anyone on a bike knows that navigating your screen while navigating busy city streets isn’t easy – or a particularly good idea. This jacket helps to resolve that real-world challenge by becoming the co-pilot for your life, on and off your bike.”
The app which needs to be installed to connect the jacket to a mobile phone is pretty much clean and comfortable to use. You can assign touch interactions like adjusting music volume or getting maps update to the three available gestures: a swipe in, swipe out, and a double tap. It’s just beginning, and the app will get more gestures and third-party support in the near future. The app is not yet finished and a beta-version of it is displayed at the SXSW.
The jacket has been priced at $350, and its availability is slated for spring 2017.