“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.
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?