Having risen to prominence during the last five years, wearables had seen a dip in consumer interest due to seemingly limited functionality. With a number of wearable technology companies folding and even companies like Apple struggling to make headway with its Apple watch, it seemed like wearables would soon be relegated to the scrap heap of ideas. That is until Google and Levi’s collaborated to create a connected smart denim jacket that demonstrates practical uses for wearables.
Until now the most popular wearable tech is still confined to fitness trackers and smartwatches, or products that combine both. Containing Project Jacquard technology from Google’s ATAP division, this may just be the breakthrough that the wearables industry has been waiting for. The search giant and renowned denim apparel maker recently announced a release date and price for the Jacket at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin.
Meet Levi’s Jacquard Commuter Trucker Jacket
The Commuter Trucker Jacket, -as the smart jacket is officially known, is set to retail at around $350 and will be available later this year. The jacket will be the first commercial product to contain Project Jacquard technology which is essentially a touch-sensitive fabric that acts just like a touchscreen interface would.
By swiping or tapping over certain zones in the fabric, wearers can control a variety of actions on their devices without having to physically take them out. This may be why the promotional video for the product features a cyclist controlling his navigation and music just by simply swiping or tapping his jacket.
Such practical solutions are what will make wearables more relevant to our day-to-day lives as they will actually have tangible use cases that improve our lives. In that sense ATAP’s project Jacquard technology is a game changer; by literally weaving touch-pads and sensor into our clothing we’ll soon be interacting with the connected world around us through our smart clothing.
With the connected Commuter Trucker Jacket different user gesture can be programmed to trigger various actions. In this case it involves controlling your navigation and music player but the possibilities are obviously endless. As the wearables industry is experiencing a dip in consumer enthusiasm Googles and Levi’s smart jacket may just be the ticket to inspiring more innovative wearable tech.