Google and Levi's Have Teamed Up to Release an Interactive 'Smart' Denim Jacket
And it'll be available to buy later this year.
While wearable tech is impressive, it's not necessarily subtle or very stylish. You can always tell when someone's wearing a Fitbit and we all know how Google Glass went down. But Google's new piece of wearable tech is integrated into one of society's more practical pieces of clothing: a Levi's denim jacket.
Google's Advanced Technology and Projects arm (ATAP) has teamed up with the iconic denim brand to redesign their Commuter Trucker Jacket with Google's Project Jacquard technology. It is the first garment to be made with the tech, which works by weaving a conducive yarn into the fabric. On the jacket, the tech is installed in the left sleeve, which acts as a touchpad and allows for touch and gesture interactivity with your phone. That means that when riding your bike (which is what this technology has been primarily designed for) you will be able to swipe up to get directions, tap to change the song you're listening to or swipe down to answer a call. It's all powered by a clip-on tag, which acts as a battery and, as far as we can tell, is the only real noticeable difference to the jacket.
The technology has been in the works for some time now, but further details were announced on-stage by Levi's global product innovation head Paul Dillinger and ATAP's Project Jacquard lead Ivan Poupyrev at SXSW in Austin this weekend. The jacket — which will be made in both women's and men's sizes — will be released in spring this year and retail for about $350 USD. That's not saying the jacket will be officially released in Australia or New Zealand, but it will be available for consumers to purchase. Until then, you'll just have to be content with listening to a shitty song that snuck into your Spotify shuffle until you pull up at a traffic light.