Think smartwatches were a bit pointless? Well, hold onto your butts: smart clothes are coming in 2017 – and the first garment will be a Levi’s jacket that is powered by Google’s Project Jacquard.
The jacket, which will be available this fall, will cost $350 when it goes on sale will run smart-software that will allow the wearer to interact with the jacket for things like skipping tracks and answering calls.
The jacket will be powered by Google’s Project Jacquard which uses a tiny computer that is embedded inside the fabric of the garment and Bluetooth connectivity to connect to the user’s phone.
Google originally announced Project Jacquard at Google I/O 2015.
The Levi’s jacket is called a “commuter jacket” meaning it is designed for those in transit to and from work. The marketing image shows a chap on a bicycle and, from what we understand about the technology, the jacket in question will be able to communicate with user’s phone.
This means you don’t need to take your phone out of your pocket to change tracks, answer calls and use voice activation for things like navigation and new music among other things.
“Jacquard allows wearers to control their mobile experience and connect to a variety of services, such as music or maps, directly from the jacket. This is especially useful when it might be difficult to use the smart phone, like when you are riding on your bike,” said Google.
Here’s how Google describes Project Jacquard:
“Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms. Everyday objects such as clothes and furniture can be transformed into interactive surfaces,” said Google.
It added: “The complementary components are engineered to be as discreet as possible. We developed innovative techniques to attach the conductive yarns to connectors and tiny circuits, no larger than the button on a jacket. These miniaturized electronics capture touch interactions, and various gestures can be inferred using machine-learning algorithms.”
The big idea here is that the garments that feature Project Jacquard will be indistinguishable from normal garments. The possibilities for this type of technology is enormous – and it doesn’t stop with clothes.
Project Jacquard can be built into fabric, which means it can go into anything that is made from fabrics – so, sofas, blankets, seats for cars, planes and trains and hundreds of other things besides.
The Levi’s Project Jacquard-powered jacket will land this fall and it will cost $350.
I know, I know… that’s insanely expensive.
But prices will almost certainly come down once the technology becomes more common.