Google’s smart fabric initiative — Project Jacquard — is now coming to market in the form of a $350 USD denim jacket from Levi’s.
The project has been in the works since 2015, developed by the company’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) group. The final product is a Levi’s Commuter Trucker jean jacket that allows wearers to control their smartphone (iPhone or Android) by swiping or tapping the left cuff — ideal for bikers or people who often find themselves unable to fumble with their device when commuting.
To make the fabric function as a touch-sensitive interface, Google integrated capacitive threads with a copper core into the left cuff of the jacket, then added a small Bluetooth dongle that attaches to a button on the cuff. After pairing the dongle with a smartphone, users can configure the three of the four gestures recognized by the jacket — double tap, swipe up or swipe down. The fourth gesture, holding your hand on the cuff, silences the phone.
Some of the functions possible include having texts read aloud and controlling music functions. Removing the dongle allows users to launder the jacket just as they usually would.
The jacket will be available at select retailers on September 27th, with a wider release through some Levi’s stores and levi.com on October 2nd. MobileSyrup has reached out to Google to inquire whether the jacket will also be available to Canadians.