Remember Google’s Project Jacquard? Yes, the smart fabric initiative announced back in 2015. Well, the project is up and running once again, this time in partnership with Yves Saint Laurent. The French luxury fashion house has just announced a $1,000 smart backpack powered by a second-generation Jacquard.
The upgraded wearable platform comes with a significantly smaller Jacquard Tag and a revamped companion app with Google Assistant integration. Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket was the first Jacquard product. It launched in 2017.
A Google Assistant integrated backpack
Saint Laurent’s Cit-e Backpack is all set to lead the second wave of connected clothes. The backpack comes with a Jacquard Tag embedded into the left strap. The new tag is significantly smaller and compact than the one that came with Levi’s Trucker Jacket two years ago. As 9to5Google points out, the previous tag was “a very long thumb drive”, whereas the newer one is just “slightly larger than an SD card.”
The Jacquard Tag is responsible for processing your commands on the touch-sensitive fibers of the backpack. The tag connects to the piece of clothing through contact pins and sends the commands to your phone over Bluetooth.
The removable Jacquard Tag charges via microUSB. It also comes with an IP54 rating for rain and splashes resistance.
The new Jacquard supports four gestures: brush down, brush up, double-tap, and cover — where you lay your entire palm on the fabric. The gestures can be customized through the companion app for controlling music, messaging, directions, alerts, and more. The notification indicator at the bottom of the strap also provides custom alerts.
The companion app itself now comes with Google Assistant integration, opening up a plethora of possibilities. You can now create your own Jacquard ability by setting any Google Assistant command to trigger via a gesture on the backpack. You can also get a personalized briefing with news, traffic, weather and more.
The Jacquard-powered backpack now also lets you trigger your phone’s camera via a gesture. What’s better? It includes a visual and haptic countdown timer before a photo is taken, so you can ensure you’re not blinking.
Saint Laurent Cit-e Backpack: price and availability
The Saint Laurent Cit-e Backpack is now available in Saint Laurent RIVE DROITE stores in Los Angeles and Paris. Priced at €795, $995, or £685, the luxury backpack can also be purchased online in Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
It will be available in Japan later this year. Saint Laurent also expects to expand the offline availability to over 50 stores by the end of this year.
Google has told CNET that more Jacquard products are on the way. The company also assured that not all of them will be “luxury priced”.