Sunday 5 June 2016

Google and Levi’s Team Up on a Smart Jacket

Smart Jacket

Project Jacquard – Connect Smart Jacket for Urban Cyclists

At the I/O Conference of Google recently, Google’s Advanced Technology and Project – ATAP research unit provided an update on interactive textile projected which had been unveiled last year, Project Jacquard. Ivan Poupyrey of ATAP had declared that the company had been working together with iconic clothing company, Levi’s in the launch of a `connected’ smart jacket intended for urban cyclist which would enable the wearer to do things such as controlling the music, answer calls, access navigation and much more, which can be performed on tapping and swiping on the sleeve of the jacket.

The partnership of Google with Levi’s was first announced last year though the two companies had not revealed how the clothing maker would have implemented the technology of Project Jacquard. The project comprises of weaving multi-touch sensors into clothes to make the new wearable computing device. The company clarified that the notion with the latest Commuter jacket of Levi’s is to make something which would be fashionable to wear while at the same time also tend to represent a useful implementation of the technology. Presently, cyclists tend to have issues with their phone while traveling on busy roads, which could be risky.

Use Gestures to Control Different Functions

With Levi’s Commuter jacket they will be able to simply touch their jacket’s cuff, utilising gestures in controlling the different functions which would otherwise need to pull out the phone to complete the task. The jacket would be part of the collection of clothing of Levi’s Commuter that is mainly focused on urban dwellers who tend to ride bikes in navigating through the city.

Embedded in the sleeve of the jacket is a Jacquard tag which makes these functions possible and which can be pulled out and charged through USB. The tag tends to connect with the LED, battery, haptic as well as the woven sensor in the garment. The connection points for the tech smartly taking advantage of the jacket’s button-hole to look less obtrusive. Besides this, the platform comprises of a mobile application which seems to connect the smart clothes to the cloud where the consumers can control the apps which work, with the connected garment.

Interoperate with Third Party Services

In addition to this, the company has stressed that one can utilise Levi’s jacket like any other form of clothing, like squeeze it up, throw it in the wash etc. Poupyrey has commented that `there is a unique challenge in creating a smart clothes platform, fashion and technology need to work as one but there is inherent tension between the two. Technology is fragile, garments are not’. Moreover on controlling native phone functions like calls, Google Play Music and Google Maps, Google states that the jacket would interoperate with third party services which mean that one will be capable of using the touches in controlling Spotify music, for instance or a connected fitness app like Strava.

 APIs would also be made available. A demo had been conducted on stage during the event wherein the company portrayed how the jacket operated. For example, running fingers up and down the cuff tends to control the volume of the music. Compass, another feature can be accessed with a swipe and on doing so, a voice assistant tends to inform the wearer, Levi’s VP of Innovation Paul Dillinger, of their next time of meeting and how long it would take to arrive.

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