Levi’s and Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group announced the first Project Jacquard product at Google I/O. The Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket is made with denim woven with conductive yarns that communicates with mobile phones.
Paul Dillinger, VP innovation at Levi’s, explained the need behind the garment, saying “Anyone who rides a bike knows that tension, how do you go on a ride without going off-grid?”
The jacket has a woven gesture sensor in the cuff that allows the wearer to answer phone calls, drop a pin, change his music or access navigation with just a gesture. The digital connectivity is provided through a smart tag, which can then be connected to any USB port. The tag is also removable, making the whole garment machine washer-safe.
Dillinger said, “If you imagine the opportunity for woven tactile interface in the context of the most explicit and urgent needs of an urban cyclist, that’s safety and awareness, the opportunity becomes really real, really valuable.”
The jacket was made with adaptations for bike riding, including flex extension in the back, localized venting for cooling and a knit storm cuff to cut the wind.
It was also important to the creators to make sure that the Jacquard technology was adaptable to any apparel maker, so the jackets were manufactured in the same production facilities as regular Levi’s garments. The jackets go through the same assembly, treatment and washing processes as regular products.
The jacket will be released to consumers in Spring 2017 in stores and online.