Designed with a distinctly utilitarian feel, the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket made with Google Jacquard has been creating a lot of buzz in the fashion and tech communities.
Since the jacket boasts a battery Google claims can last two weeks between USB charges, the ability to send calls to voicemail by simply touching a sleeve, and a general design that trends toward enjoying the life transpiring all around the wearer rather than subjecting the wearer to what’s transpiring on a screen -- it’s easy to see why people are talking. There are many potential applications for a garment that makes for fewer distractions while moving.
Though Google and Levi’s are specifically targeting cycling commuters in their joint venture, there are many other drivers that might consider the ability to swipe away notifications on a sleeve, tap it to initiate direction or receive news and notifications while enjoying an event like a concert.
The incorporation of light and haptic feedback for notifications are some of the features that make this garment unique.
These specific functions are made possible through the aid of a USB tag that attaches to the jacket’s cuff.
So, what’s to make of a $350 jacket that can only be washed 10 times before its smart jacket technology is compromised?
Perhaps not so much. The interactive area on this particular garment seems to be its left cuff, which for some users may seem counterintuitive to use if their right hand is not dominant. The number of apps that can be leveraged through this wearable is small at present, though more might be developed soon, as was the case with the Apple Watch.
Perhaps a lot. Gesture technology in wearables is fascinating enough to some consumers that they might consider other denim cleaning techniques such as freezing a garment or spot cleaning with another solvent that won’t stand as much a chance of damaging the thread’s integrity.
For those that really only want to turn on their music, get an ETA to a place they are traveling or get an occasional notification, this wearable is a decided improvement over more immersive technologies like Google Glass. For those that need a more robust experience, Google Jacquard might fall short.
The jacket, though available in limited release at select stores now, will be available to the public today in a growing number of brick and mortar Levi’s retail outlets and online.