When you are cycling to work, the last thing you want to do is pull out your phone, unlock it and answer an incoming call, navigate, read a text, or skip a music track. To help you to control your digital life while navigating your real one, Google ATAP (Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group) developed Jacquard—a connected apparel platform that allows fashion designers and apparel manufacturers to integrate connectivity and interactivity into clothes. And the first product to incorporates Jacquard is the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket.
First and foremost, the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket is a jacket. Like any regular denim jacket, you can wash it — though rumor has it that you can only wash it a total of 10 times before the technology will go caput. You might have to do the old jeans in the freezer trick with this one instead.
The denim jacket is durable, designed to be comfortable for cycling and it’ll keep you warm on and off the bike. With the built-in Jacquard technology, you can perform common digital tasks—like starting or stopping music, getting directions or reading incoming text messages—by simply swiping or tapping the jacket sleeve. Gesture-sensing Jacquard Threads are woven into the cuff and wirelessly connected to your mobile phone using tiny electronics embedded inside the sleeve and a flexible snap tag. The snap tag also notifies you about incoming phone calls or text messages with light and haptic feedback.
The gestures on the jacket cuff are fully re-configurable: using the Jacquard app you can assign gestures to invoke different digital “abilities” that were designed specifically for an on-the-go lifestyle: Play or pause your music, skip to the next track, or ask what song is playing; get your next direction, ETA, or the current time; receive updates on incoming call or texts with a subtle LED light and a vibration on your sleeve, and have the text message read to you.
The Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard retails for $350 and is available now.