Levi’s smart denim jacket went on sale three weeks ago, but CEO Chip Bergh said it’s already working with Google on version 2.0 of the Project Jacquard platform. At Wall Street Journal’s D. Live conference, Bergh said that he’d like new clothing to have even more functionality. If it’s a feature that doesn’t require a screen, he said, then there’s a possibility it could be incorporated into the next Levi’s and Google collaboration.
Bergh showed off a few capabilities of the current Google-powered jacket on stage. He swiped his sleeve to tell the time, and another swipe gave him navigation directions. The jacket uses a conductive fiber that was developed as part of Google Advanced Technology and Product group’s Project Jacquard. It’s meant primarily as a jacket for cyclists, so they don’t need to look at a screen when riding. “We’ve come up with a solution so people aren’t constantly taking phones out of their pocket,” he said.
He went on to say that this is just the start of wearable computing. Bergh foresees a future where conductive thread and fabric is weaved into all items of clothing. For example, a future swimsuit might have embedded fibers that could keep track of lap turns and heart rate. As for whether the new Google jacket will have a voice interface, he said that the fibers don’t listen just yet.
“We have to honor our past,” Bergh said regarding Levi’s heritage. “But we have to also put one foot going very confidently into the future with innovation.”