This ‘connected’ jacket from Google & Levi’s lets you answer calls, use maps & play music

Google smart jacketOver sixteen months after showcasing the ‘smart’ jacket at the last year’s I/O conference, Google and Levi’s are putting the jacket on sale in the United States. Based on Google’s Jacquard technology, which allows designers and apparel manufacturers to integrate connectivity and interactivity into clothes, the new Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket carries a price tag of $350.

This ‘connected’ jacket looks like any other denim jacket barring the gesture-sensing Jacquard Threads woven into the cuff and the tiny electronics embedded inside the sleeve and a flexible snap tag. These electronics and special threads allow you to perform a number of tasks – like starting or stopping music, getting directions, checking the time or reading incoming text messages from your phone – by simply swiping or tapping the jacket sleeve. It works with both Android and iOS devices, given you are using one of the newer versions.

This video should give you a clear idea of what you can do with the jacket:

Google wants you to believe that it is a normal denim jacket, which is comfortable, durable and can be washed like any other cloth, but that is not really true. According to Google’s support section, the jacket is designed to withstand up to 10 washes, which should give you an idea of how long it is going to last for you depending on how often you wash your denim jacket. You can’t dry clean it or iron the left cuff, or tailor it.

Also, the snap tag required regular charging like any other device. Google has not shared any information on how long the snap tag will last on a single charge.

It is unclear right now if the jacket will find many takers as the feature-set is limited and you can accomplish same tasks with other wearable devices. The jacket seems more like a proof of concept at this point and if Google and apparel makers continue to work on the technology, we might end up seeing some really great products in the future.

The new Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket goes on sale this Wednesday in the United States. The availability will be limited to select shops this week, but beginning next week, the jacket will start selling online as well.

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