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May 23, 2016

Levi’s jacket goes smart with style in Google wearable tech tie-up

News: The Google Jacquard smart jacket will be fitted with sensors which make taking calls and using maps possible.

By CBR Staff Writer

Iconic clothing brand Levi Strauss has demonstrated a smart jacket at the Google I/O developer conference which uses wearable technology without sacrificing style.

The smart jacket lets the wearer take calls, control music and use maps with touch and gesture technologies.

The project, codenamed Project Jacquard, started out last year as a collaboration between Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) and Levi Strauss to develop a smart jacket.

The project is aimed at making a smart and connected jacket that can be used for taking calls, controlling music, access maps and much more, just by tapping and swiping on the jacket’s sleeve.

Though, the project was announced last year, Levi Strauss did not reveal any details about how connected technology would be implemented in the jacket.

The idea was to integrate wearable technology into clothes without sacrificing style. Levi Strauss said that it is possible to offer this technology by creating conductive yarns. The yarn is woven along with thin metallic alloys.

With such conductive yarn, it is possible to weave areas of sensors and gestures at precise locations anywhere in the textile. Also, they can be woven throughout the fabric to create large, interactive surfaces.

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Electronic components that attach to the conductors have also been made to be very small so that they can be easily integrated into the clothing, the company said. These miniaturised circuits make it possible to record gestures and touch interactions.

These embedded electronics are then connected to the wearer’s phone or other devices, while the touch and gesture data is captured and sent to the device and converted into actions such as taking calls, controlling music and more.

The gadget is connected to the jacket using a small tag and it can be used for taking out the gadget for charging and washing. The tag is connected to the battery, LED, haptics and woven sensor in the garment. Placed at the end of the sleeve, the tag can be closed on a button, making it look it is part of the jacket.

Levi Strauss global product innovation head Paul Dillinger said: "Anyone on a bike knows that navigating your screen while navigating busy city streets isn’t easy – or a particularly good idea.

"This jacket helps to resolve that real-world challenge by becoming the co-pilot for your life, on and off your bike."

The Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket is expected to be available beginning spring 2017 in select stores and on Levi.com. Google said that it has plans to collaborate with other clothing manufacturers and make this technology more accessible.

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