So why did a tech giant decide to get into bed with a fashion empire? The answer is that they have created something that women have wanted and feared in equal measure, smart jeans, that among other things, can alert us when we have gained weight.
The excitement among both fashion and technology insiders has been palpable. Since the beginning of June 2015 (we first reported the news on 30th May 2015) twitter has been overloaded with tweets about the smart jeans with thin sensors that would “alert the wearer to weight gain”. Interacting with a smartphone (doesn’t everything these days), the new concept is based around fabric woven with smart technology that has been engineered with conductive fibers which can be woven into almost any wearable textile.
Paul Dillinger, vice president of innovation for the Levi’s brand, told WWD, “This isn’t a launch, it’s a platforming opportunity”, he continues, ” it will become a home to new forms and applications we haven’t thought of yet. The potential is that the input is the gesture – crossing your legs, swiping, saving, lifting.”
It seems to me that the Jacquard-woven clothes have literally taken us Back to the Future Marty McFly style. Besides the health benefits that come with jeans that monitor our weight, we still cannot envision adorning such innovative denim that seems to have a ‘mind’ of its own. Imagine, our very own pair of skinnies (excuse the pun) that interacts with nearby devices, allowing the wearer to for example, control a nearby smartphone with a simple on their jeans.
When it comes to the Jacquard thread working on all existing sewing machinery was a challenge. According to Ivan Poupyrev, Project Jacquard founder and technical program lead at Google’s ATAP, one of their main objectives was to create a yarn that would be highly conductive and scalable so it could be used on industrial weaving machines everywhere in the world.
Now the duo are working with a Japanese firm to create conductive fibres, in the hope of introducing their new wearable technology to the market by the end of 2016. This is great news for designers who like to think outside the box. Soon they can take advantage of a technology designed to be applied to their creativity.
Wearable tech gesture interaction once sounded so far in the future but it seems when it comes to fashion, Levis and Google have brought it into the now and soon into our wardrobe. So preach on dynamic duo, you have our attention.
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