Some time ago, Google announced Project Jacquard, an experimental project for putting various sensors in the fabric of clothing. Created by Google’s ATAP division, Jacquard was intended to bring a new level of interactivity and intuitive control to the way people interact with data-driven devices like their phones. Sensors would be woven seamlessly into fabric to allow ease of design and use. A joint effort with Levi’s, the company largely famous for their denim jeans, was revealed to be Jacquard’s first partnership and now, springing from that, the first commercial product has been announced. The first Jacquard by Google product is, naturally, a jacket; specifically, a Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker Jacket. One which uses sensors in the sleeves to allow users to control other devices by touch.
With sensors woven seamlessly into the fabric, Jacquard pieces use conductive yarn and can be used by designers just as easily as normal fabric, and they can be cared for like normal fabrics; machine washing and drying are, for the most part, acceptable. The exception is the special tag used for connectivity. All of this means that the black jacket seen above, the very first in Levi’s Commuter series, can withstand the same things as most of your wardrobe. The touch sensors on the sleeves will allow users to do things like change the music on their phone, as well as get notifications and act on them, like denying a call while riding about town or getting a vibration that tells you when to turn while using navigation on your phone.
The jacket and tag will tie into a special companion app that essentially put the feature set in the user’s hands. Control via swipes, taps and gestures on the conductive yarn can be assigned functions by the user through this app. Built for urban cyclists, this jacket and the entire Commuter lineup to follow are built for performance and durability, making the Commuter lineup the perfect testing ground for Jacquard’s features. The jacket is expected to hit Levi’s stores in the spring of 2017, officially kicking off the commuter lineup and introducing the first Jacquard product to consumers.