Google and Levi’s make touch interfaces more wearable than ever by weaving them directly into traditional textiles.

 

A new initiative announced at Google’s annual developers conference is making waves in the wearable tech world. Project Jacquard, launched in collaboration with Levi’s, makes touch interfaces more wearable than ever by weaving them directly into traditional textiles. This high-tech fabric is made of conductive thread that can respond to touch signals like swipes and taps, and sync up with a smartphone to execute basic functions. Digiday calls the innovation “Google Glass for your ass.”

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While transformative tech is nothing new for Google, the move is a bit of a wild card for Levi’s—a brand built on an iconic style that’s barely changed since its inception in 1853. But that classic vibe might be just what wearable tech needs. Wearables have long been criticized for being bulky, out of place or just downright ugly, and the invisibility of the technology in Project Jacquard is a huge step forward. On the flip side, the project speaks to the potential for wearable tech to upend even the most ingrained product categories—becoming a staple in our everyday lives, rather than a new toy for fanboys.

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“We all know Google has the innovation experience, but Levi’s can bring style, scale and a pioneering spirit to the collaboration, making it a good fit for both brands,” said Ruth Bernstein, founder of creative agency Yard, in Digiday.

For the moment it’s unclear whether touch-sensitive clothing will take off, but Google’s announcement feels like the next milestone in the ongoing trend toward computers becoming more invisible and integrated into our daily lives.

Image source: Fast Company