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An increasing number of things are becoming “smart;” from fridges to entire homes, it seems companies won’t be happy until everything has connectivity features. One thing we’re starting to see more of is connected clothing, and thanks to Google’s partnership with Levi's, which was announced at Google I/O last year, we’ll soon see a new smart jacket.
The companies’ technology, codenamed Project Jacquard, will be used in the ‘Commuter’ jacket so wearers can perform actions such as answer phone calls, control music, and get navigation instructions from Google maps just by touching the interactive surface on the garment’s sleeve.
Google's Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) group showed off the Commuter at this year’s I/O conference. The Jacket has a Jacquard sensor under the cuff which connects to the haptics and LED. It’s even possible to configure which gestures work with which applications.
As you can see in the video, the jacket is designed primarily for cyclists, who can operate it safely while riding. Thankfully, it’s machine washable as long as you take out the sensor, which is charged through USB.
As well as working with Google Maps and Google Play Music, there will also be support for third-party apps, including Spotify, Strava, and other fitness applications.
We still don’t know how much the Jacket will cost, but Levi's is set to launch it in Spring 2017 following a “beta test” period this fall. Google plans to collaborate with a number of other clothing manufacturers to incorporate Project Jacquard technology into their garments, so expect to see even more Smart clothes arrive next year.