The question is whether this jacket is really worth the cost — after all, that’s a lot for denim. The key for the Levi’s Commuter jacket lies in a snap tag on the left sleeve cuff that allows you to interact with your phone right on the jacket using gestures, LEDs and haptic feedback. It’s not fully unobtrusive — from the pictures, it appears to protrude from the sleeve quite a bit — but it’s pretty small. But if you want a low key and simple way to interact with your phone (and you love denim jackets), you may want to check it out.
The jacket is primarily aimed at bike commuters, and it would work well for this group. You can use the Jacquard app, available for iOS and Android, to customize what exactly your jacket can do. You can receive messages, send calls to voicemail, hear your next direction while biking, control your music and more. The tag charges via USB and the battery lasts for about two weeks. It’s removable, so the jacket is, presumably, washable.
The jacket looks like most jean jackets, except for a small device on the left cuff. It’s intended to look like a strap, but it’s more reminiscent of a security tag someone forgot to remove. The black tag contains a wireless radio, a battery, and a processor, but the most important tech in the Jacquard Jacket remains invisible. A section of the left cuff is woven with the special yarn, created by Ivan Poupyrev and a team of Google scientists, that turns the bottom of your arm into a touchscreen.
The most fun you can have with the tech is a screen where you can see the real-time interaction with the touch-sensitive treads. It looks a little like a guitar fret, and you can run your fingers along it and see it working, including how hard you’re pushing down. It’s a silly thing, you’re kind of just pushing buttons and seeing something light up, but the buttons are threads, which is neat.
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