Google Wants to Get in Your Levi’s
Project Jacquard textile (for denim) responds to haptic feedback, empowers consumers to keep focus on the world around them
Your future pair of denim jeans just got a hell of a lot more stylish, if you choose to buy them from Levi’s. On Friday, the clothing brand announced its partnership with Google ATAP Labs team that will revolutionize wearable fashion with a material known as Project Jacquard.
Created by Google, the textile is a platform with digital connectivity that will enable the control of phone features from the surface of a garment. Levi’s consumers can expect their apparel of the future to react to haptic feedback, such as touching your jeans to silence a phone call during a meeting or pushing a button on your denim jacket to remember the location of a restaurant as you walk past.
Jacquard’s integration with various apps and services will rest in the responsibility of the developer community, who Google and Levi’s have called on to imagine its potential to impact behavior in everything from conversations to music to travel.
“It’s about creating a platform for the developer’s community with a new ecosystem of applications that are tailored to this idea of engagement with the physical world,” Paul Dillinger, Levi’s Head of Innovation explains to PSFK. “The developers are the creatives out there that are going to do the best job making this opportunity, and we’re just helping Google build this opportunity into the garments.”
Dillinger details the project vision and its aim to empower people to step back from their devices and focus on more meaningful human connections.
With Jacquard, we are looking at how we can provide access to the most important features of our phone in a way that enables us to still maintain eye contact with the person across the table from us. We all have these clothes on so lets use these surfaces to help facilitate face-to-face interactions. If we have a whole bunch of people who love Levi’s anyways, we can use that platform to inspire reengagement with the world around us.
Imaginative cases of wearable fashion for the everyday consumer include filters on our devices that notify us only when we receive a VIP text or call, or gesturing to our garment to text hyperlinks when we hear a song we like. Smart features would relieve the fear of missing an important message on our devices so they can stay tucked away in our pockets. Other consequences include compiling new music playlists by touching the fabric on our leg.
Do these predictions that add attributes and value to our everyday clothing mean that society as a whole will become walking Internet of Things? That depends on the type of consumers that embrace such innovation.
According to Dillinger, consumer uptake will be guided by the form of the garment itself—“an exciting reveal when it happens.” From what we do know, there are countless potential variations in the functions and capabilities that will make already smart fashion, even smarter.
“There are attributes of our clothes that are already quite smart—we have jeans that are water repellent and non-stretch with a small reflective component. This intelligent design is tailored to the needs of the urban cyclist, so what we’re looking towards is just an additional tier of smart. It is a tier of complexity and a tier of useful value. There is a chance that clothing can do a lot more than just help carry our phones, and Jacquard integration can help enable the function.”