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Levi's and Google to make wearable technology together

Soon, your jeans will be made of state-of-the-art technology

By Andrea Tim | Published: 2 Jun 2015

Video: Google ATAP

Project Jacquard, the brainchild of Levi Strauss & Co. and Google Inc., is changing fashion one stitch at a time. The denim jeans company is working with Google to integrate functions on smartwatches and smart eyewear into fabrics, taking wearable technology to the next level.

Thanks to Japanese-made conductive fibres that Google designed, what looks like an ordinary pair of jeans could actually have the Project Jacquard tech woven into it, without changing the garment's loom.

"We've been looking at conductive garments for over 20 years," Google's Advanced Technology and Products' Ivan Poupyrev told WWD. "What we've done is build the interactive element into the textile. We join the yarns with a connector that enables you to connect to a mobile phone or tablet. It's about the size of a regular Levi's button and includes a power source and Bluetooth connection."

If tech fabric really happens, what was once science fiction will become a reality. Keeping track of your fitness, posture and health will become easier. Gaming and virtual experiences may become even more interactive (motion-detector remotes and wands will be so last decade). Heck, Project Jacquard could even be integrated into furniture, vehicle seats and basically anything that uses fabric.

"This isn't a launch, it's a platforming opportunity," Levi's vice president of innovation Paul Dillinger added. "It becomes a home to new forms and applications that we haven't thought of yet," said Dillinger. "The potential is that the input is the gesture – crossing your legs, swiping, waving, lifting."

Project Jacquard, which was presented at the Google developers' conference last week, is expected to hit the clothing market by 2016.

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