The connected denim smart jacket made in partnership between Levi’s and Google’s ATAP division now has a price tag, but its release date has been pushed from this spring to the fall. The jacket, which will cost around $350 when it goes on sale, is the first commercial product containing ATAP’s Project Jacquard technology, which uses conductive fabric to turn a standard article of clothing into a connected device of sorts that can send instructions to your smartphone, like pausing or skipping a song that’s playing by double tapping your wrist. Think of its functions as similar to those of a smartwatch, but less obtrusive and certainly a lot more stylish.
The news of the revised release date and the price was announced onstage at the SXSW festival here in Austin, where Levi’s global product innovation head Paul Dillinger and ATAP’s Project Jacquard lead Ivan Poupyrev held a discussion on the future of connectivity. Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket, as the product is called, was first announced at the Google I/O developer conference back in May of last year. At the time, we got a spring 2017 release date, but no price.
Still, a delayed product hitting store shelves this year is better than no product. After all, ATAP had to cancel its promising modular phone concept, Project Ara, last September. That leaves it now with Project Soli, a radar system for wearables that lets you make turn gestures into inputs without touching a screen. That project is still in the works and presumably on its way toward some type of developer or consumer product.
by Nick Statt