it’s been 10 months now since levi’s announced it’s collaboration with google to create world’s first smart denim jacket, and the product finally took centre stage at this years SXSW conference in austin, texas. the garment contains google ATAP’s ‘project jacquard’ technology, which uses conductive threads to turn levi’s iconic trucker cycling jacket into a smart wearable with a touch-sensitive left sleeve. the innovation works on the idea that the structure of textiles is similar to that of touchscreens, so by weaving in conductive threads in the place of simple cotton, it’s possible to create a soft wearable that recognizes certain gestures just like a screen.

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the connected area consists of 15 of google ATAP‘s conductive threads on the left sleeve, and a tag that wirelessly connects the yarns in the jacket’s cuff with your smartphone. with a brush of your sleeve, the smart jacket allows you to take calls, listen to music, and even navigate the city as if it were a sat-nav decive. the jacket is paired with a companion app, called ‘project jaquard’ with allows you to design the garmet’s UI, choosing which gesture will control each function. remove the tag and the jacket is completely washable just like regular denim. the ultimate in wearable technology, levi’s smart garment is designed to be copletely indistinguishable from the brand’s traditional clothing.

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with the parnership, google’s ‘project jacquard’ sets out to create a modern version of denim that is interactive yet authentic, interwoven with google’s specially-developed conductive thread branded ‘jacquard yarn.’ such yarn can be woven at precise areas anywhere on the textile to create touch-sensitive areas. in the future, google intend for this technology to allow designers to easily integrate smart textiles into their own products. developers will be able to connect existing apps and services to jacquard-enabled clothes and create new features specifically for the platform.

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project jacquard founder ivan poupyrev elaborates on the concept, explaining that ‘if you can hide, or weave interactivity and imput devices into materials, this will be the first step towards making computers invisibly integrated into objects, materials and clothing.’ the smart commuter jacket is set to cost $350 dollars, and will be officially available in fall this year.

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