A year-long project by titans Google and Levi’s, Project Jacquard has produced a stylish denim jacket which looks nothing like you would expect from wearables. It looks like a denim jacket but does oh so much more.
Project Jacquard is a collaboration between Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATP) group and Levi’s own innovation division.
They had a simple goal, to make a jacket for bicycle commuters which would safely connect them to their device with simple hand swipes. The Levi’s site calls it a Commuter Trucker Jacket. Whatever, it’s cool.
The jacket facilitates easy control features while maintaining a classic look of style all in a very convenient package.
With a hand swipe, users will be able to control their music, answer phone calls, access navigation and more. This will come most useful to their target buyer, urban cyclists.
Currently, cyclists have few safe options for managing their phones while navigating traffic in urban settings. If they have a wireless headset, the most they can do is control music and answer calls. There is no navigation help, which is huge when you’re on a bike.
The controller for the jacket is a tag which sits on the left cuff. Users swipe and tap the tag to communicate with their devices. For cyclists, this keeps their hands near the handlebars in the event of an emergency.
There is little in the fabric of American fashion that says classic more than Levi’s. They are also known for being ahead of the curve. They were the first to bring denim to women in 1934.
With project Jacquard, the ATP technology is woven right into their famous basket weave, but outside of the tag, you wouldn’t know it. The jacket just looks like the same kind of jacket you would expect from Levi’s.
While this all seems so low tech and non-fitness, it would be unfair to describe Project Jacquard’s product as anything other than the stealth tech of fitness wearables.
Yes, you can wash this jacket. By simply removing the tag, the jacket can be thrown in the wash with your other denim. The conductive yarns and electronics are designed to take water.
Try that with any other wearable you own. On second thought, don’t, even if it claims to be waterproof.
Because of the jacket’s simplistic approach to wearable technology, connecting to it is as simple as, well, putting on a jacket. There are no wristbands to fit, no earbuds to connect, no difficult technology.
You just wear and go.
This is how wearables are going to evolve from now on, integrating with the things we already use.
Obviously, the jacket works with your headphones, which is only a step away from connecting to something like the Braggi headphones, which track health metrics, or any number of existing wristbands.
That it comes in such a stealthy packages only indicates that the people behind the future of wearables understand what people want.
Here’s the whole product video: