Google’s Android Wear 2.0 and Daydream VR weren’t the only things discussed at this week’s I/O. The company had a few updates on its smart clothing plans too.
Project Jacquard was announced last year as a Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) venture with Levi’s to weave technology into clothes effectively turning them into interactive surfaces. Not much has been said since then but now there’s a target release date: spring 2017.
Called the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket, developers can sign up to join a limited beta test happening later this year.
It also seems like the smart jacket will only see a small release in certain stores when spring hits.
What exactly is it?
At the moment, the Trucker Jacket is aimed at busy cyclists. There are ‘interactive fibers’ woven in to the jacket that allows cyclists to control their mobile experience and connect to a variety of services, such as music or maps, directly from the jacket sleeve. In theory, it means you won’t have to worry about pulling your phone from your pocket.
The fibers are a conductive yarn that is linked to a smart tag which provides connectivity. Simple inputs like swipes or taps on the jacket can connect to the device’s functionality to control music and silence calls, where the touch then registers wirelessly to a phone or tablet.
A fully integrated app will allow the user to program the level of interaction with their device, and what features are most important to them like adjusting music volume, silencing a call, or getting an estimated ETA to their location.
You don’t have to worry about never washing the jacket either – apart from this detachable tag, the whole thing is washable and durable like regular denim.
It’s not clear what sizes the jacket will come in, whether it’s for men only and if other styles will be made. More details will likely follow later this year.