At the Google I/O Conference, the Internet giant revealed their collaboration with iconic American brand, Levi‘s. Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) research unit revealed their hush-hush collaboration utilizing its interactive textiles project dubbed Project Jacquard.
Project Jacquard involves wearing multi-touch sensors into clothes in order to communicate between your clothes and your technology. Google partnered with Levi’s to launch a “connected” smart jacket catered to urban cyclists that will allow those wearing the garment to do things like answer phone calls, control their music, navigate via maps and more: all by tapping and swiping on the sleeve jacket. Yes, really!
A Jacquard tag is placed in the jacket’s sleeve and can be pulled out and charged with a USB. The connection points for the tech is cleverly hidden in the jacket’s button-hole to stand out less and look more fashionable.
“There’s a unique challenge in creating a smart clothes platform — fashion and technology have to work as one but there’s inherent tension between the two,” said Ivan Poupyrev, Technical Program Lead, “Technology is fragile, garmets…are not.”
Google stressed that you an use the Levi’s jacket just like any article of clothing. No need to dry clean or for special treatment. Just throw it in the wash and voila!
The phone will be able to do more than interact with Google’s programs like Google Maps and Google Play Music. The company is not discriminating against third party apps. Yes, beauties, you will be able to use the touches to control your Spotify music or connect with your fitness apps.
The hand motions are difficult to integrate technology with your clothing. Running fingers up and down the cuff of a jacket will control the music volume.
While this is a huge stride in wearable technology, Google and Levi’s still have some work to do for full integration. There is a slight stiffness on the cuff where the sensors are woven in and a visible bulge. Also, I’d like to see not only how comfortable this piece is, but also how attractive. I don’t want to look like I’m wearing wearable technology.
Pricing was not available at time of publishing and this garment will be available for purchase in 2017.
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