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Google's smart fabric project, Jacquard, results in a jacket that can control your phone

Google claims that its new collaboration with Levi will help you control your phone's audio while cycling. (Source: Levi)
Google claims that its new collaboration with Levi will help you control your phone's audio while cycling. (Source: Levi)
Smart fabric is a form of textile containing nano-tech threads that can form circuits and battery connections when woven together. Google has been developing its own take on this new type of electronics, in the form of 'Project Jacquard'. Its first commercial application is a jacket designed in collaboration with Levi's, with touch-sensitive sleeves that interact with a phone as a Bluetooth device might.

Smart fabric is a new potential dimension in nano-electronics that has been in the works on the part of several institutions and labs for a while. Google is one of these bodies that believes the technology will bring more meaning to the term 'wearable' as time goes on. To this end, it has developed the Commuter X, a 'smart jacket', with the US denim firm Levi. This product appears to be directed at people who bike in urban areas, and thus need accessories to help them control their phones on the move.

Accordingly, the Commuter X jacket is described as having touch-responsive patches on the sleeves, which enable actions such as skipping through playlists with a swipe of or touch on the arm of the jacket. Google and Levi's claim that the smart-thread circuits that power these functions can withstand up to 10 washing cycles. The jacket, which has been designed as a result of Google's Project Jacquard smart-fabric technology, also has a 'smart tag' that connects to the wearer's smartphone in order to send alerts if said phone is allowed to get out of its range. Therefore, the jacket's owner may run less risk of losing or forgetting their phone. On the other hand, there are other types of Bluetooth device that do the same, and that could also help with the audio-related functions.

The Commuter X jacket, which is available in Levi's 'trucker style', starts at US$350 and is available now in the US. Therefore, it could make a (pricy) holiday gift for someone who likes to bike in denim and has trouble keeping their phone on them. It may also be an indicator of how well Google can weave smart fabric into the future of technology.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 12 > Google's smart fabric project, Jacquard, results in a jacket that can control your phone
Deirdre O Donnell, 2018-12-10 (Update: 2018-12-10)