Why have a wearable on your wrist when you can have it all over your torso? Two years after first teasing us with its line of connected clothing, Google and Levi's have put us out of our misery. The first piece to come out of Project Jacquard is the Commuter Trucker jacket, and as a reward for waiting so long, you'll have to pay $350 for the garment.
The key to the Commuter is the fabric of the jacket's left sleeve. While technically powered by a rechargeable tag that's found on the inside of the sleeve, the very material of the jacket is itself smart. Indeed, its comprised of a conductive yarn that could theoretically be woven into any fabric, and as a result, any sort of clothing. From there, you could just touch your clothing as you would a touchscreen in order to activate certain functionalities, like playing music.
As it stands, Google is trying to figure out how third-party developers can contribute to the platform, which means that for the time being, the Commuter will only be able to manipulate the core functionality of your smartphone, like answering the phone, reading texts, or managing your Calendar and figuring out Maps. And because this is a Google product, it probably won't work so well with your iPhone.
"It was a long road but what's really impressive, is the entire journey, we stayed true to our vision and what we wanted to achieve," Ivan Poupyrev, project lead for Project Jacquard at Google, told Mashable. "This jacket is going to be sold as a piece of apparel, that was always the vision from the very beginning."
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But not only is it a good piece of clothing, but it also solves what Levi's believes to be a very present need -- a wearable that is functional and not dangerous.
"When you go to dinner and see your people at their meals looking at their screen, or when you see cyclists accessing their screens for navigation and putting themselves at risk … to me, that really was the reason to do it, " said Paul Dillinger, Levi's global product innovation head, at a SXSW discussion on connectivity this past Saturday.
So whether you want it for its aesthetic appeal or technical prowess, just be prepared for spend a pretty penny on this connected jacket.