Fancy yourself a hipster but also a geek? A heek? Gipster? Then do I have a jacket for you.
Levi’s and Google on Friday unveiled a new version of its Commuter denim jacket with built-in smart fabric sensors, giving it the ability to control music, take phone calls and even respond to messages. And it can still go into the wash.
We actually got a glimpse of this technology last year when Google unveiled Project Jacquard, which is part of the search giant’s revolutionary ATAP lab. The project uses a new method of manufacturing textiles to weave electronic sensors into the material, which means “smart” clothing lines aren’t all that far off.
Here’s what we wrote about Project Jacquard last year:
The technology doesn’t respond to complex gestures like pinches and scrolls, but it can register a broad motion. For example, ATAP unveiled a jacket that can turn on your smartphone when you slide your hand down your sleeve. In the future, your necktie might even call an Uber for you as soon as you put it on in the morning.
The Levi’s jacket is going into developer beta testing this fall, with a consumer launch planned for next spring. When it’s available, Google says it’ll work with apps such as Google Maps and messaging along with third-party software such as Spotify.
No word on how much the special jacket will cost, or whether or not the sensors add a significant amount of extra weight or bulk. Either way, it’s amazing the kind of wacky stuff Google comes up with.