Retail

Google, Levi’s Link On ‘Connected’ Smart Jacket

The next wearable might just be in a jean jacket.

Google announced late last week that its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team is working on a project, in partnership with Levi’s, to create a “connected” smart jacket that will help turn users’ jackets into devices that control music, phone calls, navigation, etc.

And it does so in one tap (of the sleeve).

While this partnership was initially announced late year, the details of the project were kept under wraps as to how the technology of Project Jacquard, as it’s been called, would be used.

“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,” Ivan Poupyrev, ATAP’s project leader, told TechCrunch. “Technology is fragile; garments … are not.”

Beyond integrating with services like Google Maps and Google Play Music, it will also have the capability to work with third-party apps. What that means is other music apps, like Spotify, or a fitness app could be integrated into the service.

While it’s unclear how much further this technology could be developed between the two companies, Levi’s has made it clear that it wants to make wearable clothing a bit more fashionable. The idea behind this specific project is to make a practical product but with a tech spin. This specific jacket was tailored to commuters, like motorcycle drivers, who need to make moves quickly.

The jacket has the ability to be charged via USB, and it can also connect with a battery that is woven into the jacket. Beyond that, the jacket also has a mobile app to sync with other smart clothes so all the data can be collected in one place.

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