Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

Thursday, May 3, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

I’ve been recently digging through various reviews on tech wearables and the future of tech clothing, and I found one item in particular that had some interesting facts about it.

This item in particular would be the Jacquard jacket by Google and Levi’s.

The Jacquard jacket is a version of Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket which has Google’s technology woven into the fabric.  This technology mixed with denim apparel allows the wearer to interact with their smartphone via the jacket by performing different touch patterns on the cuff of the jacket.

While this idea as well as many of the pioneering projects of smart wearable technology have the premises of heading into the futuristic crusade of conquest in the smart wearable technology market, the advancement of this technology appears to be evolving extremely slowly as well as not having anything new to offer the tech focused individual.  In many cases there are other devices currently on the market that provide the same functionality for cheaper.

The jacket itself is of very good quality.  It is mostly a top of the line pedigree of the Levi Commuter Trucker Jacket with a conventional “blue collar dark wash”, all-American color and style.  The Commuter Jacket, as its name suggests, is made with bicycle-riding city dwellers in mind.  It’s a nice fit too with a lot of flexibility in the arms and shoulders.  Jacquard comes in men’s and women’s sizes.  However, just like all Levi’s jackets of the past, it fits tight and snugly when closed and tends to be worn best open.  This may pose a problem for cyclists who prefer more loose clothing when riding.  Above all, it really just feels like you’re wearing a very well made, high-end Levi’s jacket.

There is one caveat: the smart cuff. This is where Levi’s has cleverly woven in the conductive threads, but it forms a flat surface that’s more rigid than the rest of the sleeve, something you do notice when moving your arms around. It also sticks out a little, one of only two giveaways that there’s any technology here at all.

The other is the Bluetooth tag that clips into the cuff. This is what transmits the information from the cuff to to your phone, and vice versa, but is also its ugliest feature. This tag needs to be kept charged up, and should you wash the jacket you’ll need to take it off first.

All of Jacquard’s commands happen in the sleeve, specifically the left-hand cuff, which works as a touchpad to communicate with the phone. But to get that working you’ll need to pair Jacquard with your smartphone; it works with iOS and Android, and both get the exact same experience.

Once paired through the Jacquard app you can start assigning your interactions to three different gestures: brush in, brush out and a double tap. Right now this list of commands is quite limited and centered mostly around music and navigation.  You can also answer calls and get notifications via phone speaker or headphones.  There is no sound that comes from the actual jacket itself, only blinking light on the cuff tag which lets you know if you have any notifications or calls.  There’s also a counter for keeping track of, well, whatever the hell you like, and a voice to tell you the time.

Oh, and you can customise the light and haptics too, so the jacket will ping you when select contacts (up to three at a time…so that you can keep you can keep your focus on the road) are trying to get hold of you.

So, what’s the big deal?  That’s the BIG question.  Unfortunately, we are handed an Apollo in the age of the Orion with a failure to launch into new and unknown intergalactic frontiers.  Jacquard just doesn’t do enough yet.  Especially for the asking price of a hefty $350.  Although, nowadays, $350 might not seem too ludicrously expensive in the market of high-end denim jackets.  And as for the dedicated techie, if you can go out and buy Levi’s non-smart equivalent for $200 less, you can start weighing up the value of this added technology.  Otherwise, you can probably buy a really nice jacket and several other items, including other individual accessories that do exactly the same things that you can place ergonomically on your body and bike for cheaper.

So, you may now ask me what did I find interesting about this particular item?

Well, here are the two kickers that drew me in to writing about this particular item in the first place.

#1: The jacket can only be washed 10 times in its entire lifespan.

WOW, did that really just make me crumple up that paycheck and throw it in the trash of mostly useless junk…..or what?  That’s a very good thing to reveal to your potential buyers ahead of time, I may add!  That is definitely the stuff I need to know before I buy.

#2: Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh said he’d never washed his jeans, and believes that’s the best way of maintaining quality.

Really?!?  A CEO of a HUGE name brand in fashion who never washes his clothes?  That’s not only really disgusting, but also not a good way to promote your clothing.  It doesn’t make it excusable that you can only wash the jacket 10 times, so you might as well be a grimy, smelly, scummy person and make no effort to better your appearance.  GROSS!!!!!

Interesting stuff, eh?  Come back again for other interesting facts about smart tech, fashion, and the figures who surround it.

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Category: Fashion, Tech and Smart Tech

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