You can imagine the series of meetings, brainstorming session, let’s-just-run-it-up-the-flagpole-ing, etc. that led to the latest product from both Levi Strauss and Google: a ‘smart jacket’, made of denim, that connects wirelessly to your phone and can allow you to play songs, and even has a maps function.
The product is aimed at cyclists who, last time I swerved, prefer bright, tight Lycra over denim apparel. Not the easiest material to move it, let alone take a call from your friend while cycling through an unknown city, using your jacket as a map.
It’s an interesting idea that could move out of the cycling niche to be implemented in general clothing. It makes sense as a functional, everyday item, despite how much you really wanna resist ‘smart clothing’ as the next technology/consumer wave.
Google engineer Ivan Poupyrev writes, “It’s a jacket. Like any regular denim jacket, you can wash it (just remove the snap tag), it’s durable, designed to be comfortable for cycling and it’ll keep you warm on and off the bike.”
As to how it’s operated, the jacket can “perform common digital tasks — like starting or stopping music, getting directions or reading incoming text messages — by simply swiping or tapping the jacket sleeve.”
The smart jacket costs $350 and comes out October 2.