Google ATAP And Levi Showcase Gesture-Controlled Project Jacquard Smart Jacket

Your current jacket is so last season. Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) and Levi Strauss & Co. recently showcased Project Jacquard, which is a jacket that has been designed with embedded smart technology.

According to Google ATAP, “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.”
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The team initially created a conductive yarn that combines “thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk”. The yarn is strong enough to be woven on an industrial loom and feels indistinguishable from traditional yarns. “Jacquard” can be used like any other fabric and allows designers to add new layers of creativity and functionality to their work.

Google ATAP further developed electronic components that contain connectors and circuits, but are no larger than a button. These tiny electronics are able to capture touch interactions and detect other gestures through machine-learning algorithms. This data is then transmitted to mobile phones or other devices in order to control a variety of functions. LEDs, haptics, and other embedded outputs are able to provide feedback to the wearer.

Jacquard was recently integrated into Levi's “Commuter Trucker Jacket”, a jacket specifically for bikers.The denim on this jacket contains threads of Jacquard yarn. The wearer is able to connect to a variety of services, such as navigational maps or music, through a detachable tag that provides connectivity. With the exception of the tag, the jacket is machine-washable and just as durable as normal denim. 

Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation for Levi Strauss & Co., remarked, “Anyone on a bike knows that navigating your screen while navigating busy city streets isn’t easy – or a particularly good idea. This jacket helps to resolve that real-world challenge by becoming the co-pilot for your life, on and off your bike.” 

Levi's “Commuter Trucker Jacket” will be available this spring in select stores and online.