Two years after Google and Levi’s announced plans to work on smart garments, the first project of partnership finally has a release date and a price tag. The Commuter Trucker Jacket, which uses Google’s Jacquard technology to turn its fabric into a gesture-controlled connected device, arrives this fall and will cost $349.
Originally unveiled at the Google I/O conference in May of last year, the Commuter comes out with a Bluetooth cuff that allows the jacket to communicate with a smartphone to give you directions, answer calls or adjust music volume, all using swipes on the jacket’s fabric. You’ll be able to configure which gestures work with which apps and the jacket will be easily washable after removing the Bluetooth tag. The underlying tech, created by Google’s ATAP division, utilizes conductive yarns to the weave touch interactivity into any garment using standard industrial looms.
The touchpad is powered by a small rechargeable ‘tag’ that clips onto the inside of sleeve. The battery on the tag will last about 2 days, according to the Ivan Poupyrev, project lead for Project Jacquard at the Google, though he says he’d like to eventually increase the battery life to several days.
The jacket marks the first project from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group to become a commercially available product (the modular smartphone initiative Project Ara was put on an indefinite hiatus last year, following the multiple delays.)
‘It was a long road but what’s really impressive, the entire journey, we stayed true to our vision and what we wanted to achieve,’ Poupyrev says ‘The jacket is going to be sold as a piece of the apparel, that was always the vision from the very beginning.’