It takes a split second to accept an incoming call, ignore it or switch Spotify songs from your phone's locked screen. Soon enough, you'll be able to do all that by swiping your finger across your sleeve. Connected clothing is here.
Google has been teasing Project Jacquard and its Levi's collaboration since last year. It's their ambitious project to weave interactive technology into clothing using cutting-edge conductive yarns. Now the Project Jacquard and Levi's collaboration has produced a real product to brings these interactive denim textiles to life. The Levi's Commuter Trucker Jacket should start shipping in Spring 2017.
Designed especially for urban bike commuters, the jacket allows you to control apps like Google Maps or Spotify without pulling your phone from your pocket. Just snap the discrete, rechargeable tag onto your cuff and connect to Bluetooth. You can then swipe or tap your sleeve to give your phone commands.
Google's Technical Program Lead Dr. Ivan Poupyrev described the jacket as a "fashionable and functionable garment to wear on and off the bike" when he revealed the design on stage at Google I/O last week. During his presentation, he made clear their goal was not to compromise fashion item with ugly technology. The flexible tag was inspired by the cuff on a classic trench coat. It was also imperative that the jacket could stand up to normal wear and tear. If you remove the tag, the jacket can be washed just as any other denim item you own.
Denim is just the start of Project Jacquard's vision for the future of woven-in technology. This is just the first of what Google promises to be an entire line of tech-integrated apparel. They're hinting at releasing an API to open up development. "Project Jacquard will allow designers and developers to build connected, touch-sensitive textiles into their own products," their website says.