Project Jacquard:The Google-Levi’s Smart Jacket

Starting this fall, you can swipe your sleeve to control your electronics.

Levi’s just brought in a jacket to SXSW this week in Austin which it will be manufacturing in partnership with Google. Jacquard, a division within Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, will be leading the project along with Levi’s.

Without a bunch of goofy screens or flashing LEDs, Levi’s Jacquard jacket doesn’t give the outward appearance of being a gadget at all.

Basically the Jacquard division has woven conductive fibers directly into clothing so that the motions you make on the left cuff of the jacket’s sleeve act as touch inputs as if it’s a screen. That input is then sent to your smartphone via a Bluetooth attachment that clips as a cuff link. The conductive fibers are flexible and washable. Though the actual electronics are handled by the cuff link which you have to remove before you wash the jacket.

At $350, Levi’s has marked the price tag higher than normal jeans jacket. Cyclists who want to get map updates or change a song on while they’re ridin can do so with great ease all with taps and swipes on the sleeve.

Google and Levi’s hope to add more functions down the line, but right now it’s pretty minor stuff.

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