The Latest Connected Device: Levi’s Interactive Jacket

On Monday (Sept. 25), Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group introduced, Jacquard, a connected apparel platform that lets clothing designers and manufacturers mesh connectivity, interactivity and clothes.

In a blog post, the company laid out a common scenario for city dwellers: When cycling to work or juggling a cup of coffee, it’s often difficult to find and then unlock one’s phone, making missed calls a common occurrence. With Google’s newest technology, that won’t happen again, since connectivity is built right into clothing. In addition to announcing the new platform, Google also announced news that Levi is the first company to use the smart clothing technology with its Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket.

“The first thing to know about the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard is just that: It’s a jacket. Like any regular denim jacket, you can wash it (just remove the snap tag); it’s durable, designed to be comfortable for cycling and it’ll keep you warm on and off the bike,” wrote Google. “With Jacquard technology, you can perform common digital tasks — like starting or stopping music, getting directions or reading incoming text messages — by simply swiping or tapping the jacket sleeve.”  

The technology that makes this possible is embedded inside the Levi jacket. Gesture-sensing Jacquard Threads are woven into the cuff of the smart clothing and are wirelessly connected to a mobile phone using tiny electronics embedded via a flexible snap tag.

What’s more, Google said the snap tag also alerts users about incoming phone calls or text messages with light, haptic feedback. Gestures on the jacket cuff are reconfigurable, which means users can download the Jacquard app and then assign gestures to invoke different digital “abilities,” such as playing or pausing music, skipping to the next track or asking what song is playing.

The jacket is available at select shops for purchase later this week and will be available online in the U.S. starting next week.