Google and Levi’s Partner for Smart Fabrics in Project Jacquard

Google and Levi's Partner to Smart Fabrics in Project Jacquard

Levi Strauss

Google announced at the Google I/O 2015 a myriad of projects including smart clothing. Legendary Jeans maker Levi Strauss is first partner in project Jacquard.

Google revealed a ton of projects at the Google I/O 2015 this week that raises the question about where Google has not its hands in. One project will put all wearable technologies startup on notice that working on smart clothing. Google’s Project Jacquard makes garments interactive and Google already found a high profile fashion partner with mass market prowess.

At Google I/O 2015, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group unveiled Project Jacquard and named the Levi’s brand its first official partner.

The goal of Google’s Project Jacquard is to make garments interactive. Simple gestures like tapping or swiping send a wireless signal to the wearer’s mobile device and activate functionality, such as silencing phone calls or sending a text message.

“When it came to choosing a first partner for Project Jacquard, the Levi’s brand was a natural fit,” said Ivan Poupyrev, a Technical Product Lead (TPL) for Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. “Levi’s is an iconic brand with deep Bay area roots — authentic and also highly innovative and  fashionable. Levi’s brings to Jacquard their deep knowledge and understanding of apparel, their consumers and what they value.”

The Levi Strauss & Co. innovation story began with the invention of the blue jean 142 years ago. With Google and Levi Strauss are going to make Jeans digital aware.

The technology behind Google Jacquard is based on new conductive yarns, created in collaboration with Google’s industrial partners. Jacquard yarn structures combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom. Jacquard yarns are indistinguishable from the traditional yarns that are used to produce fabrics today.

Using conductive yarns, bespoke touch and gesture-sensitive areas can be woven at precise locations, anywhere on the textile. Alternatively, sensor grids can be woven throughout the textile, creating large, interactive surfaces.
Google Yarn
The complementary components are engineered to be as discreet as possible. Google developed techniques to attach the conductive yarns to connectors and tiny circuits, no larger than the button on a jacket. These miniaturized electronics capture touch interactions, and various gestures can be inferred using machine-learning algorithms.

“Levi’s has always stayed true to our iconic products, while continuing to introduce innovations that address the current challenges of modern life,” said Paul Dillinger, Levi’s head of global product innovation, who took the stage at Google I/O this morning. “In our hyper-digital world, people constantly struggle to be physically present in their environment while maintaining a digital connection. 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.”

Google and Levi Strauss did not reveal when the first Jacquard Jeans will be on the market.

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