Google ATAP and Project Jacquard add gesture control to Levi’s Commuter jacket

Levi's new Commuter Trucker jacket puts touch controls on your cuffs

Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket, the first commercially available clothing with Google’s gesture-sensing Jacquard fabric technology, was first revealed at Google I/O 2015. But after a months-long beta and production delays, it’s hitting store shelves for $350 at boutique stores on Wednesday, September 27 and Levi’s stores on October 7.

Jacquard, named after a loom, is an ongoing research project from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects. If you saw Levi’s Commuter jacket on someone in the street, you would think that it’s just an ordinary garment. That is because Google designed the touch-sensitive Jacquard technology be as unobtrusive as possible.

13242038_10153421913630356_571193328_o

The only thing that looks slightly different is the Commuter Trucker jacket’s Jacquard tag. The tag, which snaps onto the sleeve and resembles a trench coat’s cuff strap, has a light-up LED and vibration motor, recharges via USB, and lasts about two weeks on a charge. Once it is paired to your smartphone and you’re wearing the jacket (the Jacquard system can automatically tell when you put it on), you can perform gestures — a “brush in,” a “brush out,” or double tap — that manipulate apps on your phone.

Google showed a video of a man riding his bike and tapping or swiping his sleeve to pin a location to Google Maps, answer calls, and more. By default, the Jacquard smartphone reads all incoming messages aloud through your phone or a pair of headphones but can be configured to only allow calls and texts from certain contacts.

The jacket’s other cool tricks include swipe-based music playback controls and a screen that shows real-time feedback from the jacket’s touch-sensitive threads. It remembers your work and home location (a double tap of the jacket’s tag pulls Google Maps turn-by-turn directions) and can keep track of the number of miles you have biked.

The Levi’s Commuter Trucker jacket is the first with Jacquard technology, but Google says the platform will be open to any clothing manufacturer that wants to implement Google’s gesture-sensing fabric into its clothes. And the company isn’t just thinking about biking — it’s planning on moving into athletic and businesswear to expand the capabilities of Jacquard.

13242115_10153421913625356_1015612347_o

Eventually, you will be able to control not just Google services through your clothes, but also third-party services like Spotify and Strava. The search giant said it will release its APIs for any developer to integrate the Jacquard platform into their services. On stage at a Levi’s event last year, a representative from the company played the next song by swiping his sleeve and checked to see when his next appointment was — the response came via the Google Assistant.

Update: Added pricing and availability information. 

Product Review

Don't let the bigger iPhones woo you away: The XS is still a masterpiece

Apple’s next smartphone is here -- the iPhone XS. We think it’s the perfect size for an iPhone, and it manages to impress with astounding performance, and sizable camera improvements.
Mobile

Our favorite tips and tricks to help you master your Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Apple's not the only game in town when it comes to productivity tablets. Samsung's Galaxy Tab S4 has all the features you'll need to get work done. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.
Cars

BMW’s redesigned Z4 gets two turbocharged engines, long list of tech features

The redesigned BMW Z4 will be available in sDrive30i Roadster and M40i Roadster guises when it goes on sale next year. The more powerful M40i will do zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, according to BMW.
Mobile

Firm warns that almost half of all U.S. calls could be scams by 2019

What's the world coming to when you can no longer trust caller ID? Almost half of all phone calls in the U.S. could be scams by next year, according to a report put out by a phone provider.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for September 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Emerging Tech

Air Force goes all James Bond with tiny microphone that attaches to teeth

Like something out of Mission: Impossible, members of the U.S. Air Force will soon be able to communicate using a next-generation miniaturized microphone system that clips to their back teeth.
Emerging Tech

Can a bracelet really let you control your dreams?

Like many tech products that emerge on crowdfunding platforms, Instadreamer is at once imaginative, intriguing, and somewhat suspect. The bracelet’s creators say their device will let users “take control of their dreams” by inducing…
Wearables

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch Series 4 are officially live

Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4. From a larger display to a built-in electrical heart sensor, the latest device brings along some notable new features. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Skagen’s new Falster 2 smartwatch is now available for purchase

In August, Skagen announced the launch of its new smartwatch to add to its lineup, and it's called the Falster 2. The device features a heart-rate sensor, built-in GPS, and more. It's also now available for purchase.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Self-balancing skates, tiny tripods, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

The Suunto 9 multisport watch has the stamina to outlast even you

The Suunto 9 offers an astounding 120 hours of continuous tracking thanks to its intelligent battery modes and FusedTrack "GPS without GPS" tracking. We put the Suunto 9 through its paces to find out how well these features work.
Mobile

Withings reclaims its brand with the new Steel HR Sport hybrid watch

After repurchasing itself from Nokia, Withings is back with the new Steel HR Sport fitness tracker. The hybrid sports watch may look familiar, but any resemblances to Nokia's Steel HR are only skin-deep.
Computing

Facebook appears set on crafting custom silicon for augmented reality devices

Facebook's latest job postings are seeking engineers and developers for custom augmented reality chipsets, and seem to support speculation that the company is looking to produce AR glasses.
Wearables

Just $100 buys you this super-tough — and very cool — G Shock fitness watch

Casio has announced a new Bluetooth-connected fitness watch in its G Shock line. The GBD-800 has an all-new digital display, fitness tracking technology, a classic G Shock look, and an attractive price.