Project Jacquard uses new conductive yarns that combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic fibres and can be woven into fabrics on standard industrial looms

Project Jacquard uses new conductive yarns that combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic fibres and can be woven into fabrics on standard industrial looms

A year-long partnership between Levi Strauss and Google has led to the launch of what the companies claim is the world's first garment to feature Project Jacquard smart technology.

The Levi's Commuter x Jacquard by Google jacket is aimed at urban cyclists and will allow wearers to answer phone calls, control maps and listen to music just by touching the sleeve.

Project Jacquard is an initiative of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group and aims to confront historical limitations of wearable technologies.

Using new conductive yarns that combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic fibres like cotton, polyester or silk, fabrics can be woven on standard industrial looms and designed with bespoke touch and gesture-sensitive areas at precise locations, anywhere on the material.

Alternatively, sensor grids can be woven throughout the textile, creating large, interactive surfaces.

Project Jacquard has also designed complementary components that are engineered to be as discreet as possible – such as connectors and tiny circuits that are no larger than the button on a jacket.

These miniaturised electronics capture touch interactions, and various gestures can be inferred using machine-learning algorithms. Captured touch and gesture data is wirelessly transmitted to mobile phones or other devices to control a wide range of functions, connecting the user to online services, apps, or phone features.

Describing the Levi's brand as "a natural fit" for Project Jacquard, Ivan Poupyrev, a technical product lead (TPL) for Google's ATAP group, added: "Levi's brings to Jacquard their deep knowledge and understanding of apparel, their consumers and what they value."

The Commuter Trucker Jacket's digital connectivity is provided through a smart tag, and apart from this detachable tag, the whole interactive garment is washable and durable.

Simple inputs like swipes or taps on the jacket can control music or silence calls, while a fully integrated app allows the user to programme the required level of interaction and personalisation.

Paul Dillinger, Levi's head of global product innovation, adds that the partnership offers a new value to consumers. "The work that Google and Levi's are embarking upon with Project Jacquard delivers an entirely new value to consumers with apparel that is emotional, aspirational and functional.

"We're really proud to be the first official partner for Google's Project Jacquard and we're excited for the possibilities it brings."

Although no price has yet been announced, the Commuter Trucker Jacket will be available in select Levi's stores in spring 2017.