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Google and Levi’s connecting the fashion industry

15 March 2017

Project Jacquard will allow designers and developers to build connected, touch-sensitive textiles to enhance products with digital functionality.

Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket (Credit: Levi's/YouTube)

Project Jacquard allows Levi’s to enhance its clothing with digital functionality. The project will see innovative versions of denim produced that is interactive, yet authentic. The digital connectivity is provided through a smart tag that houses all the necessary electronics and the garment still remains washable and durable like regular denim. 

Already, the technology has been integrated into the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket, designed for urban bike commuters. Wearers can control various services through the jacket, such as maps and music, which is a lot easier than using a smartphone when riding a bike.

Behind the project

The technology behind Project Jacquard makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard industrial looms.

Google, alongside its industrial partners, has devised new conductive yarns. The yarn structure combines thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns to make it strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom.

By using these conductive yarns, touch and gesture-sensitive areas can be woven into precise locations. Sensors grids can also be woven, creating large, interactive surfaces.

Project Jacquard developed techniques to attach the yarns to connectors and tiny circuits. These miniaturised electronics capture touch interactions and gestures can be programed using machine-learning algorithms. 

Learn more about the Levi’s Commuter and its 2017 release here.

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