Google And Levi’s Released A 'Smart' Jacket To Help You Stay Connected Without Looking At Screens

The future is now.

Companies are continually looking for ways to seamlessly integrate technology we use every day into our lives. While this may seem a little Black Mirror-esque, take solace knowing certain innovations are keeping us in the "real world" by enabling us to connect without having to look at screens. Specifically, some companies are using clothing as a no-screen-required tool for technology. 

To this end, Google and Levi's recently teamed up to create Jacquard, a project which aims to embed technology that enhances integrate connectivity and interactivity within apparel. 

"It's an entirely new take on wearables that lets you do more than ever with the things that you love and wear every day," it says on the website for the project. "With Jacquard technology woven into the very fabric of your clothes, you can connect to your digital life instantly and effortlessly. With a literal brush of your cuff, you can navigate your life while living it." 

The first product has just been released and is now available in select stores — and it's a mouthful.  Dubbed "The Levi's Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google," it is both brands' attempt to move fashion forward. 


The "smart" jacket looks like any other well-made, comfortable Levi's denim jacket, but embedded in the sleeve's cuff is a gesture-sensing material woven with conductive thread. The fabric can wirelessly connect to your mobile phone (both on iOS and Android) using tiny electronics embedded in the sleeve and a black, flexible snap tag. 

The rechargeable Bluetooth-enabled snap tag notifies you about incoming messages and calls using light and haptic feedback. The sleeve work as an interactive touchpad for the jacket, so you can assign different gestures to invoke different digital "abilities" using the Jacquard app. So, for example, you can do things like pause your music, get directions, or read incoming text messages by just tapping the jacket's sleeve instead of pulling out your phone. 

To see what this looks like in action, check out the video below. 

If you're thinking, "Why would I spend $350 on that when I can just take out my phone or check my smartwatch?" You're not alone. But the message here is much bigger than this single jacket. Google — and many other companies for that matter — are working on adding connectivity and interactivity to the things you already love and use regularly. So, instead of having to buy a new gadget, you're buying a new piece of clothing that's familiar, but has added functions. 

"What we see now is the physical world, the world around us, becomes the next frontier for computing," Ivan Poupyrev, the project lead for Jacquard at Google, told Mashable. "This is a form of AR, except instead of trying to augment reality through the mobile phone, we're trying to augment reality directly by embedding technology into the physical things you're already using."

So, even if this particular jacket isn't the right fit for you and your lifestyle, you might be surprised by how much you want the next innovative piece of "smart" clothing, or the one after that.  


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