Google Teams Up With Levi’s To Create Smart Clothing That Connects To Your Phone – But Would You Buy It?

Google Teams Up With Levi’s To Create Smart Clothing That Connects To Your Phone – But Would You Buy It?
“Smart” augmentation of clothing has been promised for a while now (remember the RFID revolution that never quite happened?) but this denim jacket collaboration...

“Smart” augmentation of clothing has been promised for a while now (remember the RFID revolution that never quite happened?) but this denim jacket collaboration from Levi’s and Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group might be the first to actually deliver something pretty cool.

So what makes this jean jacket special? By swiping or tapping on the sleeve you can control certain functions on your phone. Sounds simple, right? Even… kinda boring? The science, however, is groundbreaking.

Google had to create touch-sensitive fibers they could weave into the fabric of the jacket – and wouldn’t short out when you put it through the wash. The end result are a series of copper core capacitive threads that link to your phone via bluetooth.

Brushing your sleeve means you can turn music on or off and a hard press silences your device. The jacket – named Project Jacquard – is geared toward urban bicyclists who can’t (or shouldn’t) be scrolling through Spotify to get their morning commute jam.

levi's jacquard

Now, I biked to work in New York almost daily for 5 years and would never have considered wearing a heavy, non-breathable jean jacket. So the idea this is a super functional piece for bikers is a bit… what’s the French for ‘Jack the Ridiculous?’

Still, it’s a heck of a concept that comes with a hell of a price tag: $350. Considering it’s basically a standard Levi’s trucker jacket with magical threads in the sleeve, it could be a stiff price for the regular consumer.

But as they say: crawl before you walk, walk before you bicycle to work in a smart jacket.

Perhaps Project Jacquard is just the first in a coming wave of touch-sensitive garments.

What do you think? Would you shell out $350 for this Canadian Tux top?

Click here to check out the project / Or buy it at Levi's

Stillman Brown is a writer and TV producer who has created prime time content for National Geographic, Discovery, Travel Channel and many others. His interests span science & the natural world, personal growth, and food. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

  • Mark Hancheroff

    A solution begging for a problem…

    • Stillman Brown

      Well said

  • MP

    Hmm… $350 for a bulky jean jacket or $12 for a phone mount for your bike? And if you’re walking, pull your phone out of your damn pocket – how lazy are we?!

    • Stillman Brown

      I view this a bit like the first cell phones: clunky, expensive, and a bit ridiculous. But this tech WILL get cheaper…

  • Nick P.

    oh yes, commuting by bike is so very safe when you have music in your ears and can’t hear the traffic and pedestrians around you, taking your hands off the bars to swipe or pat your sleeves only makes it that much safer. I personally enjoy being able to hear and pay attention to my surroundings when on my bike and getting away from the constant tech that is inherent in the rest of my daily life.

    Also, what happens when you crash and damage the jacket?

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Yeah! I’m always surprised how often I see guys on bikes with ear buds in!

  • rogun

    The technology is neat, but if I had one, I’d unintentionally bump the sleeve regularly, until I got tired of using the multimedia functions, so I’m quite positive that I wouldn’t use it. I’d probably end up cutting off the sleeves and wearing it as vest, just so I’d no longer have that problem.

    • Stillman Brown

      LOL

  • Mercurio

    From the Levi’s web site, Disclaimers: “WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or reproductive harm.”

    “Jacket designed to withstand up to 10 washes with the Jacquard™ snap tag removed; varies by usage and wash conditions”.

    “iOS is a trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and is used under license.”( I thought iOS was an Apple trademark…)

    • Nick P.

      Cisco uses a proprietary linux operating system known as IOS and has since long before Apple Inc. began calling their mobile system iOS.

      https://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco_and_apple_agreement_on_ios_trademark:

      “Cisco has agreed to license the iOS trademark to Apple for use as the name of Apple’s operating system for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The license is for use of the trademark only and not for any technology.” A: IOS is Cisco’s core operating system used for nearly two decades