This fall, tech lovers will be able to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Google has partnered with Levi to come up with a $350 smart jacket that could restore your faith in wearables.
Apart from health tracking devices like Fitbit, wearable technology generally fails to live up to its lofty promises of improving and revolutionising our daily lives. Time and again, these devices have been hampered by clunky design and lousy taste, resulting in products that are expensive, unnecessary, and just plain ugly. Face it, nobody wants to squint at tiny screens on smart watches or wear clothes and accessories that scream “high tech”. There’s a reason why we shoved the 90s space grunge fashion out of the door and pretended not to take their calls. Finally. Google has wisened up after the its Glasses fiasco and hobnobbed with the style mavens from Levi to develop a game changer for wearable technology.
At first glance, the smart commuter jacket looks like any other stylish and comfortable Levi denim jacket which any tomboy would love. And that’s the beauty of it. Introduced at SXSW in Austin, this Levi smart jacket is made in partnership with Google’s Project Jacquard, and aimed at those who bike to work. It has technology woven into its fibers and allows users to take phone calls, get directions and check the time. That delivers information to the bikers through their headphones so that they can keep their eyes on the road without having to fiddle with a cumbersome screen. Talk about wearing your tech on the sleeve, literally.
These smart fibers are washable and powered by a smart cufflink that you’ll have to remove before you chuck the jacket into the washing machine. No word on whether this cufflink is water resistant, which would be a valid concern for us who ride through all kinds of weather conditions.
After all, the last thing you would want to wear on a hot summer day is a long sleeve denim jacket. Coming to the stores in fall at a cool price tag of USD$350, you won’t want in your own sweat. Still, the existence of such a jacket offers an exciting glimpse of the potential for smart fabrics and is telling about where the market may be going next. With that, dear Google, could we please have the next edition of your smart jacket made in a breathable and cooling fabric that can survive a tropical summer?