Denim took on new dimensions when Levi’s and Google teamed up months ago to create a smart denim jacket. The Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket uses Google’s Project Jacquard technology to turn the cycling jacket into a smart wearable. By weaving conductive Jaquard yarn into the denim, the companies have created a soft fabric that has the ability to recognize certain gestures just like a touchscreen.
The connected area consists of 15 of Google ATAP conductive threads on the left sleeve and a tag that wirelessly connects the yarns in the jacket’s cuff with the wearer’s smartphone. With a brush of the sleeve, the smart jacket allows the wearer to take calls (or block them), listen to music and navigate the city. Paired with Project Jacquard’s app, the wearer can make choices regarding the garment’s user interface, such as gestures to control each function. Remove the tag and the jacket is washable, just like regular denim.
The jacket’s functionality is possible because the jacquard yarn can be woven at precise areas on a textile to create localized touch-sensitivity. The companies expect the ability to hide or weave interactivity and input devices into materials to be applied to a variety of garments and textiles in the future.
The smart commuter jacket enjoyed lots of attention at the 2017 South by Southwest music and technology conference held recently in Austin, Texas. It’s expected to be on the market in the fall of 2017.