Meet Google’s stylish washable smart jacket

Tech is a market that is growing, but we see play it safe with bracelet format or the smartwatch. However, all that is being changed by a collaboration between Google and Levi’s — and the strangest thing is, it is really quite stylish!

Wearable tech. Hear the words and you consider the smartwatch: a bangle that a version of your smartphone.

We’ve seen a great deal of smartwatches in the last few years. And to tell the truth, we have not seen a good deal of innovation.

Input ‘Project Jacquard’, a fresh approach to wearable technology from Google. It’s making its debut and it to find technology that is wearable and into your own wardrobe!


The first Project Jacquard wearable was shown earlier this month in the South by Southwest conference at Austin, Texas, in a panel discussion involving Google and Levi’s execs.

It’s merely a denim jacket. But inside, it is filled with useful attributes, which is where the side of this equation comes in. We’ll get to all those attributes in a minute.

However, Project Jacquard rejects that approach, hiding away its technology to create a broader appeal — that could end up being a decision. In the end, the debacle about Google Glassrevealed that the average consumer does not necessarily wish to market their cutting-edge wearable tech into the Earth, however valuable the features are.

In that sense, a hurdle has been leapt by the Project Jacquard jacket: it seems like something people might decide to wear in their lives. That sets it apart from just about everything else from the ‘tech’ market?


The Project Jacquard jacket is Fairly modest, when it comes to features:

The wrist comes with a low-profile panel you can use to control a smartphone that is paired.

You can assign these gestures into a lot of activities that are different, like obtaining information, answering calls or controlling audio playback. On the wrist helpful for text and call notifications, the coat can give you a buzz of feedback for specific actions.

The signature controls 15 conductive threads power themselves — although all of this is controlled by a device, looking somewhat like a drive, attached to a wrist of the coat. The first time you will be asked to calibrate these to your way of using the gestures it is all set.


At first glance, these features might not seem impressive. They just provide an excess control surface for your phone to you: it does feature a screen.

On your wrist, although to date wearables have tried to replicate the characteristics of your phone — or they have narrowed their scope to focus on fitness or health monitoring.

It starts with the main feature — a coat that feels great and looks — and asks ‘how do we use technology to make this useful?’

This mindset is clear from the dialogue in the SXSW panel. Google honcho Ivan Poupyrev said that their first thought was “to place a screen on it, the bigger the better” — but the Levi’s team came back and said “No, there can not be blinks on the coat, we do not do that. Our clients are trendy urban people and blinking in your coat is uncool.”

There is a great point here, when some tech-lovers might balk over substance: a coat should be a coat foremost and first. There is no point replicating the exact features in your sleeve of your phone: you’re going to have to bring it anyway, and you got a telephone.

Without bogging down the device in gimmicks — the Jacquard approach provides you that little bit more control. We reckon the coat may be a major hit with tech- and customers when it lands — so how do you get your hands?


It is expected to go on sale in the autumn priced at $350 – or about £285 at the current rate of conversion. That is about three times greater than the standard and in that cost that is hefty, it is unlikely to have much appeal.

Having said that, this is the application of the Jacquard technology. Google strategy to develop an entire ecosystem of Jacquard-powered services and applications — describing it as a “blank canvas to the fashion industry”.

You can learn more over on the project’s site, but we expect this remarkable technology will find its way into a variety of other clothes in the not too distant future. A pair of gloves that are smart could be as cheap as they are useful — and a Jacquard duvet could make it more easy to spend all Sunday in bed watching Netflix!

But the technology ends up, it is a significant step forwards for technology — towards something and moving the industry away from jewelry well, wearable.