Technology giant Google in collaboration with Levi’s is developing smart jackets for urban bike riders. The jacket is also called as Commuter Trucker Jacket. This smart apparel uses Google’s Jacquard technology that turns the fabric into a gesture-controlled fabric as the fabric is touch sensitive.
The smart jacket is embedded with Bluetooth-powered cufflinks that allow users to swipe fingers to send commands to the companion smartphone. It makes it easy to get directions, answer calls, or control the music without pulling the phone out of the pocket.
The miniature electronics embedded in the jacket are capable of capturing signals, touch interactions and gestures via algorithms. The sensor grids can be woven throughout the textile, creating large, interactive surfaces.
Google explained, “Jacquard allows wearers to control their mobile experience and connect to a variety of services, such as music or maps, directly from the jacket. This is especially useful when it might be difficult to use the smartphone, like when you are riding on your bike.”
How does this smart jacket work?
If you are getting a call on the phone, you just need to tap anywhere on the jacket instead of taking your phone outside of the pocket. It makes it possible to introduce touch and gesture into any textile using standard, industrial looms.
When the user touches on it, the data is sent wirelessly to mobile phones or other devices to control a wide range of functions. Other equipment like LEDs, haptics and other embedded outputs provides feedback to the user and connect them to the digital world.
The jacket is simple. It has conductive yarn that is exactly similar to the standard yarns. The conductive yarn structure is a combination of thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester or silk.
Google explained, “Using conductive yarns, bespoke touch and gesture-sensitive areas can be woven at precise locations, anywhere on the textile. Alternatively, sensor grids throughout the textile, create large, interactive surfaces.”
“It could offer new possibilities for interacting with services, devices, and environments. These interactions can be reconfigured at any time. In addition, It will allow designers and developers to build connected, touch-sensitive textiles into their own products.”