Google kept Motorola’s ATAP (Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group) when it sold the company a few years ago, but some high-profile projects like Ara have failed to materialize. Now, the ATAP division is finally bearing fruit. The Project Jacquard touch-sensitive fabric first demoed more than two years ago is coming to market as a collaboration with Levi’s. The new Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket launches this Wednesday for $350.
The Commuter jacket looks like one of Levi’s standard denim jackets, which I’m told are considered quite fashionable in certain circles. Those retail for around $150. However, the left sleeve of the smart jacket contains embedded “Jacquard Threads.” These capacitive threads have a copper core, but you can wash the jacket like any other denim jacket (after removing the Bluetooth tag).
The sleeve responds to taps and swipes, which are relayed to your phone over Bluetooth as commands that can control your music, accept/dismiss calls, and so on. An app for the jacket supports customizing the gestures, and it’ll work on both Android and iOS. The jacket will be in select shops this Wednesday and online at Levi’s website next week.
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