Wearable tech is hard to get right. Think about the Xybernaut Poma, a wearable computer that made the user look like a reject from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. Or Google Glass, which still walks a fine line between future fashion and stalker merch. And let’s not forget the Fitbit model that gave wearers an itchy rash.
But there’s hope yet, this time from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group. They’ve partnered with Levi’s on Project Jacquard: an initiative to explore how manufacturers can use technology such as ‘capacitive microfibres’ – in other words, fibres that react to electrical impulses, the same way a touchscreen reacts to your fingers – to turn fabric into an interactive surface that wearers can wear, click and swipe.
First up from Project Jacquard is the Commuter denim jacket. Compatible with Google’s maps and messaging, as well as Spotify, it contains interactive panels in the cuffs – so, you can listen to music and answer calls and messages while on the move. And because the sensor grids and circuit boards are woven into the fabric, the jacket is the same style as any other Levi’s garment – so there’s no need to look like a Borg when out on your bike.
Watch the YouTube video here.