The idea is to create touch sensitive clothing that will allow a wearer to control his or her smartphone.
The Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group at Google is now joining forces with Levi’s in order to create a wearable technology jacket that will be touch sensitive and will use the specially designed and conductive fabric developed by Project Jacquard.
The fabric is made by a special type of yarn that brings together natural and synthetic yarns with a metallic alloy.
This special yarn can be woven into a single component of a garment such as a sleeve or a cuff, or it can be woven throughout an entire piece. In the case of the wearable technology jacket currently being developed by Google and Levi’s, the technology component will be limited to the sleeve as its dedicated touch surface. The piece itself is in the form of the clothing company’s black trucker jacket from its Commuter line. Levi’s recently released a video in order to reveal what they’re up to and suggest some of the possible usage scenarios for the clothing.
Levi’s has indicated a number of different possible uses for the wearable technology jacket with a touch sensitive sleeve.
Within the Levi’s video, some of the examples for the use of the wearable tech include being able to tap or use gestures with the sleeve to obtain directions, changing music (track, volume, etc) and controlling calls. All this was done while riding a bike, to demonstrate the ease of use and minimal amount of distraction involved.
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However, as much as the jacket may function as a high tech mobile device, Google insists that it the jacket being developed can be used in the same way as any other jacket someone might have hanging in the closet. The only difference is that the computer chips must be taken off the button loop on the sleeve before it is washed.
According to Google, this wearable technology jacket isn’t long off. In fact, it might be available as soon as this fall as a limited beta edition. The more widespread rollout is expected to be about a year from now.