I tried on Google and Levi’s Smart Jean Jacket and it’s cool, but not there just yet
The smart jacket that takes selfies and even plays your favorite tunes!
You’ve heard of fast fashion, but what about smart fashion?
Recently, I tried on Google’s latest gambit: a smart jean jacket from Levi’s with Jacquard.
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The jacket has technology literally woven into the sleeve.
“What we’ve done is we’ve integrated Jacquard into the left cuff here and the way that everything works is through the Jacquard tag,” said Alex Lee, a program manager at Google that works on project Jacquard.
When inserted, it activates touch gestures like swiping and tapping, which command Google Assistant on your phone.
“This tag is a big component of our platform. It allows this jacket or backpack to be connected by the same piece,” explained Lee. “You feel that vibration? That means your jacket is now connected to this Pixel 4,” explained Lee after inserting the special tag into a holder inside the jacket.
The removable Jacquard tag is tiny; it connects through Bluetooth and lasts weeks on a charge.
I tried several commands using a touch sensitive portion of the jacket’s sleeve.
You can program various touches, like a tap or a strum, to correspond to commands like having your phone tell you the time or activate the selfie camera.
You can also program actions to play music, skip songs and share your location.
The concept is interesting, but it’s clearly a work in progress. Strumming your sleeve might be useful to skip tracks, but most of the other actions are probably easier and more definitively done on a phone itself.
Still, it’s an interesting way to merge our electronics and clothing. In addition to the smart jacket, there’s a connected backpack by Saint Laurent.
“We’re creating a platform for brands like Levi’s and Saint Laurent to incorporate connectivity and access to digital experience,” concluded Lee.
Google has been working on this technology since 2017 and it continues to evolve. The jacket costs about $200 and in case you’re wondering, once you take out the litle Jaquard tag, it is washable.
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