Last year, Google had announced a program called Project Jacquard under the banner of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) research unit that aimed to provide interactive smart textiles. The company, at its I/O today announced that the project is being updated and that Levi’s is to launch a connected jacket very soon.
Project Jacquard, if you didn’t know already, is a program that involves weaving multi-touch sensors and other electronics into clothes in order to make what you’re wearing smart wearable computing devices with multiple functions.
Jacquard yarn structures combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom. Jacquard yarns are indistinguishable from the traditional yarns that are used to produce fabrics today.
Google had announced its partnership with Levi’s last year, but we didn’t get to see much action.
The new commuter jacket that is being developed by the duo will apparently allow you to control a variety of functions, apps and services by simple gestures, rubs and taps on the sleeve. These include stuff like controlling your music, answering phone calls, accessing navigation and a lot more.
It might seem like something from a sci-fi novel but according to the web giant, the technology is almost market-ready. Google says it will launch the jacket into beta testing this fall and then publicly release the garment next year.
According to the tech giant, the main aim of the new jackets is to combine fashion and technology and blend them in such a way that its both enjoyable to wear and use. The jacket is primarily meant for urban cyclists who normally have to fumble around with their phones to get things done while commuting heavily trafficked streets. This is not just a difficult feat, but extremely dangerous.
Drawing in the new commuter jacket into the equation, you can simply use gestures and rubs on their sleeves to perform these tasks. Google says that a Jacquard tag will be embedded in the jacket’s sleeve making the overall functionality possible. This can then be pulled out and charged via USB. The tag is basically used to connect to the different sensors, LEDs, haptics and the battery that are fitted into the garment.
The technology takes advantages of the jacket’s buttons and other similar accessories to place the sensors, making them completely un-spottable. And the awesome thing is that the jacket is completely washable!
The company felt the need to add that third-party apps will also be supported and they will be releasing APIs for this technology soon.