Google and Levi’s have unveiled the first product to come out of Project Jacquard: a cyclists’ jacket that allows users to answer calls, access music and maps using touch and gesture directly through the jacket sleeve.
Jacquard by Google is an innovative textile project that Google Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) announced it was developing last year, and The Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker jacket is the technology’s first real outing. The fabric is woven with conductive thread, allowing everyday items like clothes and furniture to become interactive surfaces; in this case the sleeve becomes a controller for the user’s smartphone. On the jacket sleeve is a smart tag, which houses all the necessary electronics to allow digital connectivity, which can be removed to recharge it and to wash the jacket.
The textile combines super-thin metal alloys with regular natural or synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester or silk, making it indistinguishable from traditional textile fabric. The conductive yarns can be woven into small, specific locations on a garment, or across large surfaces, which can then be used to control electronic devices via touch or gesture. Developers will be able to connect existing apps and services to Project Jacquard clothes, and create new features for the new platform.